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Russ College student data science club earns top scores in international YouTube competition

Anna Hartenbach | Aug 24, 2018
Big Data

Russ College student data science club earns top scores in international YouTube competition

Anna Hartenbach | Aug 24, 2018

A Russ College data science club scored in the top 5 percent of a recent YouTube video challenge against nearly 400 teams from around the world this summer.

Calling themselves the DeepCats, the Big Data Club earned 18th place and a virtual silver medal in in the second YouTube-8M Video Understanding Challenge. The contest, hosted by Kaggle, the world’s largest community of data scientists and machine learners, challenged competitors to produce a compact video classification model to classify 3 million YouTube videos into 4,000 categories.

The club – electrical engineering and computer science doctoral student Yichao Li, MS ‘16, MS ‘17; electrical engineering and computer science doctoral student Zhongen Li; John Huff, BSCS ’17; and sophomore computer science student Thomas Waldick – built upon and made simple modifications to the 2017 winner’s model.

“It’s good to see the research we do at OHIO and the material we share in classes is comparable to the top people in this field. For our students to place in the top 5 percent speaks to what we’re doing at the Russ College,” said David Juedes, chair of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Yichao Li, the club’s president, said that rather than striving for a specific goal, the team viewed the competition as a way to practice and learn data science skills outside of the classroom.

“It feels very good to be among the top contestants. My expertise is biological data analysis – this shows that the data science skills obtained in my research are good enough to allow me to step into other areas,” Li said.

For Waldick, the competition served as a way for him to dive deeper into his computer science interests.

“Artificial Intelligence is such a fascinating field covering many different topics, and I want the chance to dive deeper into one of those specific topics,” he said.

DeepCats vice president Zhongen Li said his machine and deep learning courses inspired his participation.

“It’s important to participate in these types of competitions to gain experience, apply what I’ve learned and practice solving real-world problems,” he said.

For more info. or to join the Big Data Club, contact Yichao Li at yl079811@ohio.edu.

Colleen Carow contributed to this story.