Press Release

SAS and Goa Institute of Management’s Bitathon Leverages Data Analytics to Predict the Course of COVID-19

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Business Wire India
SAS and Goa Institute of Management (GIM), recently hosted the second edition of “Bitathon 2021”, a platform for budding data scientists to solve problems that matter to humanity. The event witnessed an overwhelming response. Over 400 students from more than 25 institutes participated in it. This year the theme of Bitathon was to leverage data analytics to predict the course of COVID-19. The teams analyzed COVID-19 data of several countries along with the data from World Development Indicators over the past years. Based on the analysis and machine learning models deployed, a common theme that emerged across teams was that COVID-19 will not be eradicated any time soon, as more waves of the pandemic are expected across the world. As a result, the society must still follow the COVID-19 norms and guidelines as advised by governments and health agencies. Also, as the vaccination process has just started, its impact won’t be felt immediately.
 
The championship kicked off with a keynote address by Dr. Ajit Parulekar, Director – Goa Institute of Management, "Data Science is now omni-present as a way of doing business and Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence are today a part of the must have skill-set package for managers across businesses. GIM envisioned this several years back and in line with this we were the first business school to offer a PGDM in Big Data Analytics. In a short span of 3 years our PGDM in Big Data Analytics program has been ranked as the 2nd best program in the country by Analytics Insight and 4th by Analytics India Magazine. Bitathon is an annual hackathon jointly conducted by GIM in association with SAS to challenge, engage and activate budding data scientists".
 
Bhuvan Nijhawan, Sr. Director Education – Asia Pacific, SAS Institute India Private Limited said, “By offering the right skills, tools, data and environment to budding data scientists, we can expect to witness innovative solutions, which can address issues faced by our society. The teams participating at Bitathon predicted new waves of COVID-19 thereby highlighting the key role data analytics can play in managing the pandemic.”
 
Dr. R Rathish Bhatt, Chair, Big Data Analytics Programme, Goa Institute of Management said, “The volatile environment that we are in makes it imperative upon businesses to constantly reinvent themselves and revisit old models to solve various complex problems. Analytics professionals would play a big role in rendering these critical predictive models which would help managers recalibrate their strategies. Avenues like ideathons and hackathons help nurture the intrapreneurial and entrepreneurial spirit among students. We want such competitions to happen more often as it would propel students to come out of their comfort zone and to ideate about the future of analytics in businesses”.  
 
The winners of Bitathon 2021 were:

  • Team 1: 2 States – Sneha Chatterjee, Ananthakrishnan Mavelil and Gokul Mohan S.
  • Team 2: Teen Pileon – Sourabh Chiprikar, Rishi Lulla and Akshaykumar Kaliya
  • Team 3: The Connected – Madadi Reethika Reddy and Sai Krishna Katla

 
The approach taken by the winning team – 2 States, for solving the problem using analytics was comprehensive, design-led and data driven. Their goal was to predict the recovery rate with respect to the total recovered cases for different countries. With extensive research, World Development Indicators which included variables such as population density, GDP, expenditure on health, mortality rate and prevalence of undernourishment were selected. The model was developed with the intent to help governments, citizens, World Bank, and WHO determine aspects including country level preparations in future, to address vaccination trials preparations, recovery ratios,  budget allocation for improved COVID-19 care facilities in affected areas and population density analysis to administer appropriate measures for recovery rate maximization.
 
This initiative is part of SAS’ ongoing efforts towards using Data for Good. The Data for Good movement encourages using data in meaningful ways to solve humanitarian issues around poverty, health, human rights, education and the environment. From preventing life-threatening illnesses to protecting endangered species to rebuilding after natural disasters, organizations across the globe are harnessing data to make a difference.

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