UNT graduate students win top prize in second Big Data Challenge

DHISCOTwo University of North Texas graduate students who turned a terabyte of raw hotel booking data into a comprehensive analysis of booking trends took DHISCO Inc.’s top prize in the second annual Big Data Challenge.

The students, who called their team Inception, also won the best overall award in judging last week at the contest, which was sponsored by DHISCO, the world’s leading hospitality distribution company, Sabre Hospitality Solutions and UNT.Ê

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Crystal Janes and Amit Malhan won $1,000 from DHISCO and $500 from UNT for turning the booking data provided by DHISCO into business intelligence about which cities and hotel amenities are the most popular. Their analysis included a breakdown of age and economics in the most popular areas as well as a map showing which amenities are most important in different price points.

ÒTeam Inception was, without a doubt, the judges’ and audience’s favorite project,Ó said DHISCO CEO Toni Portmann, who handed out the prizes last week.

ÒThe winners wowed everyone with their data approach and business recommendations, while giving everyone a laugh during their well-timed playful presentation that told the story of how they loaded the data, which data models they tried, which they chose, how they analyzed the data and, ultimately, their findings and recommendations.Ó

Ms Portmann also awarded a $750 second-place prize to the students of team STAT Ship Enterprise, who wrote a program that was able to convert and load hundreds of millions of rows of data in just two hours, and a $500 third-place prize to the students of team Dream Donkey for a digital marketing analysis of bookings by members of hotel loyalty plans.

Judges included DHISCO guest judge Brad Buice, Vice President of Software Development at Trisept Solutions, and officials from DHISCO, Sabre, UNT, Verizon Buxton and Trinity Industry.

Ninety-three students on 14 teams participated in this year’s challenge. Cash prizes were awarded separately by DHISCO, Sabre and UNT.

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