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Rice D2K Lab Takes Student Project Showcase Virtual

Rice Spring Showcase

Rice University transitioned its annual Center for Transforming Data to Knowledge (the D2K Lab) showcase to a virtual showcase. More than 300 participants tuned in on April 22, 2020, to view student videos, interact with video teams in their individual Zoom Q&A rooms and join together for a live online awards ceremony.

The lab is a capstone program that brings together interdisciplinary teams of students to work on semester-long projects and gain immersive, experiential learning opportunities in data science and machine learning. Each is sponsored by a corporate affiliate or community partner, including local agencies, oil and energy companies, healthcare organizations and others.

This year's showcase drew 10 teams of five to six students. The winner was "Team Medical Informatics Corp.," which presented its project, "Beat-to-beat Classification of Unlabeled ECGs in Adult Populations." The goal was to take all the data that a cardiologist or heart doctor would be given from a patient's ECG and detect problems or areas of concern that need particular attention.

According to team member Nicole Tan, a junior studying electrical engineering, the project drew on different skills, "such as data wrangling, signal processing and modeling." She noted in a video that the experience allowed her to learn "a lot about working in teams and how to build a robust data science pipeline that was reproducible, reusable and reliable." She was joined by students majoring in computer science and electrical and computer engineering.

The audience choice winner, "Team Houston Fire Department," included students studying computer science, math and economics, electrical and computer engineering, statistics and subsurface geoscience. That team's project, "Emergency Response Demographic-Based Risk Assessment for Houston," was intended to help fire departments compare how well they provide services to the communities and explore ways to improve outcomes.

This year's event also included presentations by student teams from the COVID-19 Houston Response Projects (CHRP) program. This data science challenge was launched to encourage Rice students to get involved in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The winner of that group was "Team Stay at Home," whose project focused on whether social distancing and stay-at-home orders work. Connor Rothschild, a senior studying social policy analysis, said the team he was on benefitted from the various skill sets that each team member brought to the table. "We're very grateful to have won first place; all of the CHRP projects were so unique and it was a pleasure to compete against and engage with their projects as well."

The second-place CHRP team was "Team Care 4 Everyone," which tackled the problem of housing the entire homeless population during the pandemic.

The audience choice prize went to "Team Lovett," for "Distributing Ventilators in Texas."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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