Booz Allen Hamilton

The Thrill of the [Data] Chase

January 28, 2015

Booz Allen Associate and Data Scientist Steve Mills discusses the National Data Science Bowl.

You’ve felt it before; that moment you have been working toward for days, months or even years – when an inspiration becomes an idea with the power to change everything. We live for moments like these; moments that define who we are and perhaps leave an impact on the world around us. It’s these moments that push us to better ourselves and those around us.

As a data scientist, I’m lucky enough to experience these moments with my colleagues every time we solve a complex problem or reach that light bulb moment when the seemingly impossible begins to be answered. We never tire of this feeling. It keeps us coming back for more. It encourages us to pursue ever-harder challenges to solve.

Sound fun?

Well, in partnership with our friends at Kaggle, Booz Allen Hamilton launched the National Data Science Bowl last month to give you the opportunity to have one of these moments and leave your mark on the world forever.  

For the next two months, participants will be racing to the finish line -- reviewing somewhere around 100,000 images of plankton collected by scientists at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center and developing algorithms that will enable large-scale analysis and classification of the species within. These algorithms once complete, will allow researchers to assess ocean health at a speed and scale that were previously impossible. These algorithms will contribute to an unprecedented level of understanding about our aquatic ecosystems. Just imagine the possibilities!

Participants have the opportunity to solve an extremely difficult problem while advancing the state of the art in the marine science community. They have the opportunity to impact the world. Still not enough? The top competitors will split a cash prize pool of $175,000.

Many of you have already started the chase for your own moment. In fact, as of January 7th, we have had more than 2,100 entries from 333 teams in the hunt. And in the first hour after we launched, the Kaggle platform received the highest number of site visitors ever. We thought that was pretty exciting.  

With plenty of time left in the competition, I encourage all of you to throw your hat in the ring, test your skills, collaborate with the community via the Kaggle forums, and make your mark.  Whether a skilled veteran or a newcomer, everyone has an opportunity to learn something new, have fun, and contribute.

Are you ready for your moment?