The Challenge

The 2015 Data Science Bowl® challenged data scientists to create an algorithm to automate a heart function assessment process. The National Institutes of Health and Children’s National Medical Center compiled data from more than 1,000 patients that participants examined. This data set was an order of magnitude larger than any previously released data set of its kind. With it came the opportunity for the data science community to take action to transform how we diagnose heart disease. Stay tuned for the results from this challenge.

Although we often take it for granted, it’s our heart that gives us the moments in life to imagine, create, and discover. Yet cardiovascular disease threatens to take away these moments. Each day, 1,500 people in the U.S. alone are diagnosed with heart failure—but together, we can help. We can use data science to transform how we diagnose heart disease. By putting data science to work in the cardiology field, we can empower doctors to help people live longer and spend more time with those that they love.

Measuring Heart Function

Declining cardiac function is a key indicator of heart disease. Doctors determine cardiac function by measuring the heart’s squeezing ability. The gold standard test to accurately make this assessment uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), but reading MRI images is a manual and slow process. It can take a skilled cardiologist up to 20 minutes to read these images—time the cardiologist could be spending with his or her patients. Making this measurement process more efficient will enhance doctors’ ability to diagnose heart conditions early, and carries broad implications for advancing the science of heart disease treatment. By revolutionizing the process of diagnosing heart disease, we can give doctors their best opportunity to proactively create robust treatment plans for stopping this silent killer.

Competition Results

The top prize was awarded to Tencia Lee and Qi Liu, a team with a background in hedge fund trading and not traditional data scientists. They spent more than 100 hours each in evenings and on weekends building and testing algorithms. Working in parallel, Lee and Liu built and trialled hundreds of algorithms to read the heart scans. Their efforts paid off, with the largest prize in the competition, among 993 data scientist contestants in the Data Science Bowl®.

View the Public Leaderboard for other top-ranked entries from the 2015-2016 Data Science Bowl.


National Institutes of Health

Michael S. Hansen, PhD
Michael S. Hansen, PhDBiomedical Engineer
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Andrew E. Arai, MD
Andrew E. Arai, MDSenior Investigator
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Supporting Organizations

Solving the previously impossible is not easy. You need a community to enable and empower your success. As a group we can share experiences, strategies, and information that will truly allow us to affect change at a global scale. The organizations that support the Data Science Bowl® form the underpinnings of that community.


Submit Your Ideas

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Ready to re-invent the future?
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In our first contest, we dove deep with a microscopic lens to improve ocean health. In our last, we went on a life-saving mission to spot nuclei to diagnose killer diseases. In each case, we did what couldn’t be done before: bring the awesome creativity and capability of data scientists to open the doors to new approaches.

What should we tackle next? If you have ideas, let us hear from you!

We’re in the hunt for the next big problem to solve—a problem with the potential to change the world. If selected, the power of the entire data science community will be harnessed against it.

Contact us to submit your ideas or email Include an overview of the problem, your contact information, a brief description of the data, and where it can be obtained.

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