Aspiring Pointwest Data Scientists Place High in Data Science Competition
September 10, 2015
PointSeerPH, a team of newly-minted data scientists composed mostly of Pointwest Technologies Corporation specialists, placed high in a recent Kaggle Competition. They bested more experienced teams for a slot in the upper 6% of global entrants.
The team was made up of fresh math and statistics graduates from some of the top colleges and universities of the Philippines, as well as experienced managers from Pointwest. These were trained in Data Science by Isaac Reyes, a founder of data science company DataSeer and a certified Data Scientist. He designed the grueling, 5-week course consisting of sessions on Data Visualization, Foundational Statistical Theory, Managing Analytics Projects, Dealing with Large Datasets and Machine Learning Techniques, among others.
As their culminating activity, the new data scientists participated in a Kaggle project, considered the “Olympics of data science.” The team was enrolled in the Caterpillar Tube Pricing Kaggle Competition, where entrants tried to create an algorithm for a price prediction problem from the world’s largest manufacturer of construction equipment.
“The team of fresh grads, who didn’t even know how to code when they started, ranked 82 out of 1,333 teams,” Reyes said in a post he made in Linked In. “That put them in the top 6% of the Kaggle leaderboard.”
With a community of over a hundred thousand experienced and aspiring data scientists, Kaggle is one of the leading marketplaces for data science today. These data scientists compete to solve complex data science problems put up in the site by companies and organizations. NASA, statistics firm Deloitte and Europe’s nuclear research organization CERN (who found the Higgs Boson) have all made use of Kaggle to crowdsource data modelling for their needs.
Pointwest, one of the leading IT outsourcing companies of the Philippines, worked with Isaac to design the 5-week data science course. Recognizing the increasing reliance on big data by businesses and he lack of local talent in the field, Pointwest initiated a development program for data scientists
“Along with social media, cloud computing and mobile applications, data analytics is changing the way we consume and use information,” Ma. Cristina “Beng” Coronel, Pointwest’s President, said. “This impressive performance by PointSeerPH in the Kaggle Competition is a testimony of Pointwest’s belief that Filipino IT talent can compete with the best in the world.”
“This is the future. And our young just showed us they have what it takes to excel in it despite the short time to learn the fundamentals of data science,” Coronel added. “We hope to build on the lessons of Team PointSeerPH to build a stronger data science foundation and program, not just for Pointwest but also the local IT industry.”