Big Data Win for UCF Math Lecturer

Dr. Aaron Smith - Evercup contest 2 RESIZEDUCF Mathematics lecturer, Aaron Smith, Ph.D., was awarded first place in the 2016 EverBank Cup Contest at the Big Data Analytics Symposium on March 28, 2016.

The 4th annual EverBank Cup Contest recognizes outstanding achievement in data mining and analytics made by Florida higher education students.

Dr. Smith, a SAS Data Mining Certificate student at UCF, was named the first place winner of the contest, which was judged by a panel of analytics experts.

The contest consisted of two classification tasks based on publicly available and unstructured data. Between January 20 and March 13 contestants worked to develop their projects and models.

Dr. Smith’s project was “Using Word Stems to Categorize Websites.” He used web crawl software and text mining techniques as an efficient way to simultaneously find multiple desirable clients, and to determine which type of financial ventures they would be receptive to. The keystone task of his process was to identify which terms signal a client’s industry and desirability. If the websites’ text is processed well, then several statistical models will provide reliable results.

Before Dr. Smith came to UCF, he served in the U.S. Army. He used the GI bill, a benefit designed to help service members and eligible veterans cover the costs associated with getting an education or training, to attend the University of Florida and earn his Ph.D. in mathematics. After graduating from UF, Dr. Smith taught at Marion Military Institute in Alabama, and then began teaching at UCF’s Mathematics Department.

Dr. Smith will complete UCF’s Data Mining certificate program this spring.

Dr. Smith expressed that “[t]he future of data science is in unstructured data. The EverBank competition is a good example of how innovative solutions require strong math skills.”

The contest winners were announced at the Big Data Analytics Symposium at UCF on March 28, where Dr. Smith presented a 15-minute Dr. Aaron Smith - Evercup contest 1overview of his study, methods and results and was awarded a cash prize of $1,000 for his work.

This year, over 30 students from Florida colleges and universities submitted entries with their executive summary, data preparation, modeling approach, results and conclusions competing for $2,000 in cash prizes awarded to the top three winners. Kimberly Cooper, EverBank Assistant Vice President of Marketing and Client Analytics, presented the award to the winners.

The EverBank Cup Contest began in 2013 to foster the relationships in the data mining community. EverBank has a longstanding recruiting partnership with The University of Central Florida and the university’s analytics programs.

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