Princeton Data Science Club: DataDev launches competition for all students (Part Two)

Monday, Apr 26, 2021
by Sharon Adarlo

Students at Princeton University have a unique opportunity to learn about data science and win great prizes through a new competition overseen by the student-led organization Princeton Data Science (PDS) and sponsored by the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning (CSML).

The PDS Data Bowl, which runs until May 1st, calls for interested students to take a provided movie data set and predict “revenue from a few different variables, such as the movie’s budget, director and more,” according to contest details. Students from all majors and varying degrees of data science expertise are welcome to apply and take part in this contest. Read more about it here.

This new competition is one of the biggest events in the PDS calendar and an important initiative of the club, whose mission is to provide programming to students who want increased exposure, education and networking opportunities in data science.

The contest is held via the club’s DataDev branch, which organizes, trains and hosts student teams to compete in data science and machine learning competitions and work on collaborative projects. This is the second of three articles highlighting PDS. The first one was on the club’s DataDebut (read here) and a third one will be published soon on the Data@ branch.

“We are excited about this contest because it deals with tangible, real world numbers that students can relate to, and I think they will find it a lot of fun,” said Joyce Luo, team lead of DataDev and a junior in the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering. “Prizes, generously provided by CSML, range from an Amazon Echo Dot for the most creative solution to an Apple Watch for first place.”

Students have been enthusiastic about the contest, said Luo. About 50 teams have signaled their intent to enter the competition and DataDev’s two introductory events on the contest also attracted dozens of students.

The idea for the data bowl was inspired by hackathons and other academic competitions held on campus and at other institutions and companies, said Luo.

Another initiative of DataDev is the PDS Data Science Grant, said Luo. CSML provided Microsoft Azure credits for use, and PDS decided to ask students to propose projects that would use the credits and then have them present their research later this semester to PDS officers. Six grant winners are using the Azure credits.

“The aim of the grant program is to get these students the resources they need for their projects,” Luo said.

Like the contest, the grant program is open to any student, no matter their major or their level of data science experience. Students just need to sign up for the PDS listserv, which has over 400 people subscribed, and apply.

“We want PDS to be an open community. We are trying to open up data science to a variety of majors and backgrounds,” said Luo. “I am really excited that we have been meeting people who have no experience in data science but are enthusiastic about learning and being part of the data science community. Data science is such a cool field and you can apply it to practically every field out there. So it’s important more people are exposed to this discipline.”

For more information on Princeton Data Science, its three branches and programs, go to the club website at