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Stanford ICME Launches the WiDS Datathon
Competition seeks to promote female data scientists focusing on social impact solutions
Co-Director, WiDS Conference
Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering (ICME)
Palo Alto, CA— January 31, 2018 — Stanford ICME announced the inaugural “WiDS Datathon” taking place February 1-28, 2018. Winners will be announced at the Global Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference on March 5, 2018.
The WiDS Datathon is a joint effort between the Institute for Computational & Mathematical Engineering (ICME) at Stanford University, Kaggle (a Google company), Intuit, West Big Data Innovation Hub, and InterMedia, a grant recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, in their Financial Services for the Poor program.
This competition seeks to encourage women to apply their knowledge in a predictive analytics challenge, using data collected by InterMedia’s Financial Inclusion Insights (FII) program. Participants will analyze the data and build machine learning and statistical models, using their preferred data analysis methods and tools. The WiDS Datathon competition will be hosted by Kaggle.
Datathon teams can be comprised of 1-4 members, at least half of which must be women.. Inter-organizational teams are allowed. Team members may be students, faculty members, government workers and/or members of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and/or industry members.
Social Impact for Women in Impoverished Countries
The dataset for the challenge will contain demographic and behavioral information from a representative sample of survey respondents from India and their usage of traditional financial and mobile financial services. The dataset is a product of InterMedia’s research to help the world’s poorest people take advantage of widely available mobile phones and other digital technology to access financial tools and participate more fully in their local economies. Women in these communities, in particular, are often largely excluded from the formal financial system. By predicting gender, the datathon teams will explore the key differences in behavior patterns of men and women, and how that may impact their use of new financial services. Ideally, these findings will influence plans to reach women in developing economies and encourage them to adopt new financial tools that will help to lift them and their families out of poverty.
Increasing Participation Rates of Women in Data Science
The WiDS Datathon establishes a new model for female participation in datathons and hackathons, in which participation has been disproportionally male.
"We expect that by providing a social impact outcome, along with an opportunity for women to connect with other like-minded female professionals, we will increase awareness on the impact that female data scientists and data science can have on global issues," said Wendy Kan, Data Scientist at Kaggle. "This will also yield new creative solutions for the countries surveyed."
Part of the Global Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference
The Women in Data Science (WiDS) conference is a one-day technical conference featuring world-class speakers, leaders in industry, academia, government, and nonprofits. Speakers discuss a wide array of data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence research and applications, from computational finance, to astrophysics, to cybersecurity, and much more. All genders are invited to participate in the conference, which features exclusively female speakers.
The Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference is a truly global and inclusive conference, with a unique participation model. Participants have the choice of joining the conference in person at Stanford; in person at one of the 100+ regional events worldwide; online via livestream; or online via Facebook Live. This provides unfettered access to valuable, technical, and innovative content to anyone in the world that would like to participate. WiDS 2018 will be held at Stanford University and broadcasted via livestream to more than 100,000 participants, via 150+ regional events in 50+ countries, hosted by volunteer WiDS Ambassadors worldwide. For additional information about regional events, or to register, visit the WiDS website at http://www.widsconference.org.
"We're delighted to sponsor the WiDS conference, and partner on the WiDS Datathon", said Grace Wu, Senior Data Scientist at Intuit. "As a global financial services company, we're committed to empowering diverse teams to provide insight and impact on important global issues."
About Stanford University
Stanford University, located between San Francisco and San Jose in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, is one of the world’s leading teaching and research universities. Since its opening in 1891, Stanford has been dedicated to finding solutions to big challenges and to preparing students for leadership in a complex world.
About the Institute for Computational & Mathematical Engineering (ICME) at Stanford University
ICME is a home at Stanford for an increasingly critical multidisciplinary field that uses advanced mathematical and computing capabilities to understand and solve big, complex problems. ICME has over 50 affiliated faculty from 20+ departments across the university. Faculty and ICME graduate students are involved in groundbreaking research around computational mathematics, data science, machine learning, optimization, simulation, and other related areas. ICME is a degree-granting program for MS and PhD students who apply their studies to a wide range of domains. ICME has MS degree tracks in Data Science, Computational Finance, Geoscience, and Imaging Sciences. Last year, ICME offered over 60 courses reaching 3,000 students, including undergraduates.
WiDS Press Release
WiDS Fact Sheet
Available upon request
Headshots: Google Drive folder
Prior event photos:
Facebook photo album
WiDS 2017 Highlight video
Why we started WiDS
featuring Margot Gerritsen
WiDS YouTube playlist
SiliconAngle TV / The Cube:
WiDS 2017 Speaker Interviews