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Business analytics students earn first at the GeoAI Challenge

Monday, December 19, 2022

Becka Cammon, Kalpesh Mulye, Noreen Chihora, Prathamesh Kulkarni, Saswata Rautray and Tejaswi Maruthi.


From left, Becka Cammon, Kalpesh Mulye, Norren Chihora, Prathamesh Kulkarni, Saswata Rautray and Tejaswi Maruthi won first place at the GeoAI Challenge.

A group of Oklahoma State University business analytics students won first place while competing against 25 other teams from across the world at the GeoAI Challenge, hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Becka Cammon, Noreen Chihora, Prathamesh Kulkarni, Tejaswi Maruthi, Kalpesh Mulye and Saswata Rautray, master’s students in the business analytics and data science program, competed virtually over the span of several months and were awarded $1,000 for finishing first.

“Though this was a straightforward text analytics problem, it was challenging as the competition had set a very high threshold of model performance based on previous year’s submissions,” Kulkarni said. “Therefore, all of us had to get out of our comfort zone to go beyond regular methods to bring something unique to the competition. Designing our own solution from scratch, taught us a lot about cutting edge research in the field of text analytics. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without teamwork as each member undertook different roles based on their expertise in coding, documentation and project management. I think this is what truly helped us ace the competition.”

The GeoAI Challenge was intended to provide a platform for collaboratively addressing real-world geospatial problems by applying artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The challenge was organized by ITU, UNICEF (UNO), QCRI (Qatar Computing Research Institute) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“Winning this competition together with my classmates validates everything I thought this program would be before I joined,” Chihora said. “As crazy as our classes and schedules are, Dr. (Goutam) Chakraborty’s design for this program works. I didn’t believe in myself a year and half ago but now I know I can make it as a data scientist. That’s means more than anything to me.”

Dr. Venu Lolla, mentor for OSU’s first-place team, was proud of what the six students accomplished.

“The team put months of perseverant effort into this challenge,” he said. “They went down various data preparation alleys, had to familiarize themselves with the cutting-edge NLP techniques, implement analytic pipelines and optimize multiple model parameters before they could arrive at a model that assisted in placing first. The determined effort and the consistently optimistic outlook they maintained as they ran into dead-ends several times were inspiring to watch. We are very proud of their accomplishments.”

Visit the website, for more information about the master’s in business analytics program at OSU.

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