Data Storm is back for the third consecutive year to allow young analytical minds to demonstrate their skills in the field of data analytics and enable industry experts to observe and assess the participants' potential. The unique feature of 'Data Storm,' and the reason it differs from traditional datathons, is that it demands participants to understand ways to deliver novel and feasible solutions to the given scenario, rather than only detecting patterns and links between the data presented. So this is the story of how Rotaract Club of University of Moratuwa and Rotaract Club of Faculty of Science University of Colombo put up the third episode of Sri Lanka’s Premier Advanced Analytics Competition - Data Strom.
Amid the country's crisis, the chairpersons and organising committee ensured that the project ran smoothly. The project lasted two and a half months, and every member of the organising committee put in a lot of effort to ensure the event's success.
When reciting the story of Data Storm, it is essential to state the involvement of OCTAVE at the very beginning. I believe that the driving force behind 'Data Storm 3.0' was OCTAVE- John Keells Group, a powerhouse in the field of complex data analytics. The cases for all the rounds of the competition were provided by OCTAVE. They accompanied us throughout the competition to ensure that everything went smoothly. We were able to provide mentorship to the finalists, all thanks to the specialists from OCTAVE. Not only that, it is essential to mention their representation throughout in evaluating the solutions. Simply, OCTAVE has been a great pillar of support in bringing Data Storm 3.0 to a successful conclusion.
Jumping back to the journey of Data Storm 3.0, the competition was structured under six stages Introductory Webinar Series, Masterclass 1.0, Storming Round, Masterclass 2.0, Semi-Finals, and Final Round. The competition kicked off with an introductory webinar series through the Zoom platform and Facebook Live to convey the exciting ins and outs of data science to anyone interested in the field.
Data Storm 3.0 registrations commenced on March 5, 2022, just before the first Introductory Webinar, and were handled through the fully functional Data Storm web portal. The registration period was meant to go until March 21st, 2022; however, due to tremendous response, it was extended until March 23rd, 2022. Participants were required to compete in teams of no more than three people for the competition. In addition, Data Storm recommended that players form three-person teams, for the dynamics between a data analyst, a data scientist, and a data translator will benefit and result in a more favourable competition outcome for the team. 101 teams of undergraduates from public and private universities around the country had signed up to participate in the unique 'Data Storm' competition.
From the storming phase, 15 teams moved to the semi-final case track of Data Storm 3.0, where OCTAVE - John Keells Group established an industry-level case study with a real-world issue for the competitors to solve. After the evaluation process, five teams qualified for the Data Storm 3.0 Grand Finale. The respective teams were Binary Trio, Data Dreamers, Team Pan, Decision Makers, and Team Ares. On April 8th, all candidates were allowed to engage in mentorship sessions.
Even though the competition was supposed to be entirely virtual, the organising committee managed to hold the Grand Finale, 'Data Storm 3.0 Finale' in physical. The finals were set to begin at 9.00 a.m. on April 9th, 2022. At the DHPL, Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 07, members of the Data Storm Committee, Presidents, Secretaries, and Chairpersons from Rotaract Mora and Rotaract Club of the Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, were in attendance for the memorable conclusion. The candidates' experience was still physically demanding, while the Data Storm team banded together to make the most of the situation.
Three of the five teams consented to participate in the competition physically after negotiations with them. Team Decision Makers and Team Ares were unable to compete physically due to the present situation in the country. As a result, we made the necessary arrangements to connect those two teams virtually in the finale round.
Finally, after three months of intense competition, Data Dreamers emerged as the overall winners of Data Storm 3.0, outperforming 101 other dynamic teams.
After overcoming numerous hurdles during the project's life cycle, Data Storm 3.0 finally came to a triumphant conclusion. It was a good experience for us as the organizing committee, as we learned a lot from the professionals we encountered along the way and were able to create some wonderful memories.