Purdue team heading IEEE Computer Society Global Student Challenge Competition

The competition, which began in May, is open to student teams worldwide, and already has more than 275 teams participating. Following two rounds of judging, the competition culminates in October 2021 with multiple awards given to winning teams.

This year two challenge problems are being posed, both on topics of relevance today. The first problem is analyzing computer system usage and failure data from a university’s central computing system. The second problem is analyzing sentiments in Tweets related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of Bagchi team

The first problem set was created by Bagchi, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his team from two National Science Foundation (NSF) grants (CI-NEW: Collaborative Research: Computer System Failure Data Repository to Enable Data-Driven Dependability; and CCRI: ENS: Collaborative Research: Open Computer System Usage Repository and Analytics Engine).

The team members include X. Carol Song, Rajesh Kalyanam, and Amiya Maji from Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP); Ravishankar Iyer and Zbigniew Kalbarczyk from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; and Stephen Harrell and Richard Evans from the University of Texas at Austin.

The second problem was created by Xiangliang Zhang, associate professor of computer science at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.

The competition comprises two stages with student teams of three participating. At the first stage, software submissions to the two problems will be evaluated based on quantitative performance on predicting events in an unseen dataset. At the second stage, an oral presentation given by the finalist teams to a team of international judges will be used to select the winners.

The winning teams will be honored at a virtual IEEE Computer Society conference Oct. 24-29, 2021. Cash awards will be given in various categories, including an audience choice winner.

“The competition is a great way for students across the world to feel that they are part of a connected global community,” says Bagchi, chair of the competition. “They get to work on two challenging, real-world, data-science problems and to showcase their capabilities.”

The competition is being organized as part of the IEEE Computer Society’s 75th Anniversary. Organizational support is provided by the IEEE Computer Society Student & Young Professional Activities Committee, led by its chair, Megha Ben.

“Given how fast the pace of change is in our field, this is an important opportunity for students to get connected to real-world problems and understand the practical implications for applying what they are learning in classes,” says Dr. Forrest Shull, 2021 IEEE Computer Society president and lead for Defense Software Acquisition Policy Research at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute. “That we were able to pull together such a useful competition for our world-wide professional community is a real testament to our volunteers.”