The weekend before last, I had the pleasure of participating in the inaugural EMC Data Science Global Hackathon
. The event, orchestrated by kaggle
as part of Big Data Week
, involved teams around the world competing to build better, more accurate predictive models of metropolitan air pollution. Air pollution threatens millions of people around the globe suffering from asthma and other respiratory diseases each day, and predictive models like these can provide an early warning system to alert the public regarding dangerous levels of pollutants on an hourly basis.
There was a global competition, in which teams from London, New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, and Turku, Finland (as well as independent entrants from around the web), battled for 24 hours straight to top the leaderboard by building the most accurate prediction models. The NYC event also included a Data Visualization competition: who could transform the competition data into the most effective and impactful visual form.