OCTAVE, the John Keells Group Centre of Excellence for Data and Advanced Analytics, was the sole sponsor of Data Storm 1.0, the first ever Datathon conducted in association with the University of Moratuwa. The aim of this two-day Advanced Analytics competition is to pioneer curiosity in Data and Advanced Analytics among the innovative youth. Data Storm 1.0 is organised by the Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa and the Rotaract Club of the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo.
The overall champions were the Stormtroopers from the University of Moratuwa, consisting of Nisal Ranasinghe, Sudeera Withanage, Buwaneswaran Madhushan.
The First Runners Up were Slow Mosquito Net from the University of Moratuwa, consisting of Udith Haputhanthri, Mohamed Afhan and Kithmini Herath.
The Second Runners Up were Data Crunchers from the University of Peradeniya, consisting of Imesh Ekanayake, Heshan Dissanayake and Hiruna Samarakoon. The first stage of the competition was conducted on the Kaggle online platform. A panel of lecturers shortlisted 21 teams by assessing the scores of the Kaggle Competition as well as the written submissions submitted by over 50 competing teams. The finalists proceeded to the second stage and participated in an 8-hour datathon on 29th February 2020, held from 8.00 am onwards at the JKH Auditorium. Five teams were shortlisted from the scores of the datathon. They entered the final round of pitches where they shared their insight on how to solve the business challenge they were presented with. After evaluating the presentations, Stormtroopers were declared the winners! On 22nd February 2020, an engaging seminar was held for the eager contestants at the Civil Auditorium at the University of Moratuwa.
Dr Amal Shehan Perera, Head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Director – DataSEARCH at the University of Moratuwa delivered a lecture on Data Science Tools and how Advanced Analytics aided a Dengue Prevention initiative in 2019.
Yolan Seimon, the Head of OCTAVE, shared the story of how OCTAVE was established with the intention to drive JKH towards becoming more data driven in its operational and strategic decision making. He shared the aspiration to institutionalize the Advanced Analytics capability at JKH, by building a world class data and advanced analytics practice at OCTAVE with the support of a global consultancy firm. Participants of Data Storm 1.0 will be assessed as part of the OCTAVE recruitment program, and several candidates would be hired to work on an OCTAVE graduate program. They will have the opportunity to work shoulder to shoulder with globally renowned experts in Data Science and Data Engineering while gaining rich practical experience in solving real-life business problems.
Ruwan Sri Wickramarathna and Devmie Wannakuwatte, Data Scientists from OCTAVE, also presented two advanced analytics models developed by OCTAVE. Ruwan talked about the model developed by OCTAVE to assess Promotional Effectiveness at Keells, while Devmie discussed the Lapse Prevention Use Case developed for Union Assurance PLC that helps proactively reduce premature lapsation of life insurance policies. The 21 finalists took part in the datathon, held the following Saturday, 29th February 2020. Asanga Gunawardena, a Data Scientist from OCTAVE, explained that the contestants must develop an advanced analytics model that will find solutions for customer churn at Keells. The data set was released, and the datathon was underway.
The panel of judges included: Ranga Rodrigo, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering, University of Moratuwa; Surangika Ranathunga, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science Engineering, University of Moratuwa; Dr. Sohan Dharmaraja, Chief Technology Officer of Pre-Sales and Technology at John Keells IT; Nuzhi Meyen, Consultant and Data Scientist at John Keells IT; Kiruparan Balachandran, Senior Data Scientist at OCTAVE – John Keells Group and Asanga Gunawardena.
Dr Sohan Dharmaraja shared a few words expressing his excitement to come out to data competitions such as this and meet the next generation of aspiring data scientists. He mentioned the need to balance the technical and academic knowledge gained from universities with real-life business challenges. He was pleased at the “fantastic job” done by the contestants. The awards ceremony was held from 7.00 pm onwards the same day. Tokens of appreciation were distributed to the judges by Rotaracter Dhanuka Perera, the President of the Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa, and Rotaracter Mindula Perera, the President of the Rotaract Club of Faculty of Science, University of Colombo.
Team OCTAVE at Data Storm 1.0