In the past three years, the Data Science Bowl (DSB) has made inspiring changes in the world. Together, we’ve tapped into a collective ingenuity to tackle real world issues, like cancer, with data. Here at Booz Allen, we want to advance the art of data science by continually showing that the most pressing problems can be met by impactful solutions when we harness the power of data and use it for social good. There are a variety of trends impacting our challenge:
Crowdsourcing: The world is now dependent on data – the new asset to fuel insightful discoveries, smarter decisions, essential innovations, and better outcomes. And the winning approach to drive those insights, innovations, and outcomes is a combination of smart humans and smart algorithms: crowdsourced data science. The Data Science Bowl has demonstrated how to reach the previously untapped potential of talent around the world, uniting data scientists in the effort to deliver something greater than themselves.
Cross Collaboration: The DSB competitions have forged meaningful connections and productive partnerships within global communities that do not normally intersect – data scientists, technology enthusiasts, and domain-specific organizations – who believe passionately in open data crowdsourcing – to generate solutions. We’ve created a competitive yet supportive environment where individuals can harness their passion, unleash their curiosity, and amplify their impact to effect change on a global scale. If we’ve proven anything, it’s that collaboration and democratizing data science is key – you don’t have to be a PhD medical expert to make major advances in the medical community using data, just look at our past DSB winners.
Humanity: Since the early days of the Big Data and Data Science movements, data scientists have been devoted to applications of those data collections and advanced algorithms to solving societal problems. Informal groups (like meetups) and entire organizations have coalesced around hackathons, online competitions and other approaches to meet societal needs. New challenges lie ahead and sectors such as energy, defense, and finance may soon see their largest struggles deconstructed in days. Excitingly, we have become part of a movement where global citizens become doers, taking things into our own hands to determine humanity’s path forward.
One more look ahead: We are now less than 45 days from the launch of this year’s competition. Learning the details of the challenge is always exciting, and this year I’m counting the days like a kid before summer break. I can’t yet tell you what the upcoming challenge will be, but I can hint that it has the opportunity to advance medical science across a broad range of illnesses and diseases. Consider pulling a team together to join in this year’s Data Science Bowl competition.
~Ray Hensberger, Booz Allen Hamilton