UCF Statistics Places Second at National Conference

Charles Harrison (left) with team coach Morgan Wang (center) and team captain Jay-Ming Wang (right).

Alumni, students and faculty from the University of Central Florida’s Department of Statistics were in Las Vegas earlier this month attending the 2016 Analytics Experience Conference. The conference was held from September 12 to 14 at the Bellagio hotel.

The team of UCF statisticians placed second in the SAS analytics shootout competition– an event put on each year at the conference that pits teams against each other in a race to solve a real-world analytics problem. Participants can use multiple modeling approaches to find the best solution to the problem.

There were 87 teams competing in this year’s competition. The entries were judged by twenty judges made up of professors, data scientists, and data analysts. The top three placing teams were invited to give a presentation in the SAS Analytical Conference.

UCF’s successful team, led by Morgan Wang, Ph.D., consisted of recent alumni of the UCF statistics data mining program; Jay-Ming Wang who served as team captain, Charles Harrison, and Aaron Smith, as well as current UCF civil engineering doctoral student Adrian Sandt. The team took home the second place title and $3,000.


Edgard Maboudou, Jay-Ming Wang, Charles Harrison, Aaron Smith and Morgan Wang

The recent UCF graduates all have found work with analytics since graduating in May 2016; Aaron Smith with Seminole County Public School, Jay-Ming Wang with Disney, and Charles Harrison with Salford Systems in San Diego, CA.

The team from University of Oregon that took first place in the competition was led by UCF alumnus Wembo Wu, Ph.D. Wu earned his master’s degree in statistics from UCF and now serves as an assistant professor at the University of Oregon.

The UCF Statistical Data Mining Program was an academic sponsor of the conference. UCF Data Mining Director Morgan Wang, Ph.D., and Associate Professor Edgard Maboudou, Ph.D., attended the conference and worked a booth to connect with conference attendees.

“Our goal is to establish contacts and relationships with companies for possible collaboration, internships, or the recruitment of our students,” explained Maboudou. “This has been very successful in the past.”

Maboudou explained that after collaboration at the conference a few years ago, the UCF Department of Statistics established a partnership with Everbank to organize a competition in collaboration with the data mining program.


Jay-Ming Wang (left), Wembo Wu (center) and Edgard Maboudou (right).

This year, Maboudou and Wang connected with a lot of companies about the recruitment of UCF statistics students and participating in the department’s 2017 data mining symposium.

The conference is put on annually by the analytics company SAS. This year’s conference included over 100 lecture sessions and 11 keynote speakers.

On January 26, 2017 the UCF Department of Statistics will team up with the UCF College of Business Administration and the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science to host a Big Data Symposium at the University of Central Florida. The Big Data Symposium will feature the brightest minds from UCF’s data analytics and data mining programs to discuss how the tools and methods taught in classrooms can be gainfully applied in various business industries.

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