College Factual & RPI Host "Datathon"






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The winning team came up with a math model to rank colleges based on the reported crime in the area. This first-place winning team received a cash prize of $1,000. There were additional cash prizes for 2nd, 3rd and 4th place teams.


"RPI's first Datathon was a wonderful opportunity for students from all years and backgrounds to exercise their creativity and analytics skills," says Tony Fischetti, College Factual's lead data scientist.


"There's no substitute for hands-on learning in a team where each member brings their own unique skills and ideas. Because students are free to choose a project that interests them, they gain a sense of accomplishment they may not get from a cookie-cutter homework assignment. This gives students a taste of what a career in data science entails."


Rensselaer IDEA was created to encourage RPI faculty, staff and students to engage in data-driven discovery and innovation. Professor James Hendler directs IDEA with the goal of helping students to see and practice real-world application of what they learn in the classroom, developing leaders in the industry who will go on to succeed and thrive in the world of big data. 


The program is a natural fit for College Factual, a data-driven decision engine helping students to make better choices about their education. The company uses public and private data about colleges in interesting and revealing ways to help students choose the best college and major for them. 


For more information about College Factual see


For more information about the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications (IDEA), visit

College Factual and the Institute for Data Exploration and Applications (IDEA) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hosted a Datathon offering cash prizes to students who came up with the best ideas. A total of 35 undergraduate and graduate students on 11 different teams attended. 
The teams were given geographic data on over 1,000 different schools as well as a Yelp dataset with information on thousands of local businesses. Teams could use this data as well as any other publically available data to come up with answers to open-ended questions. 

April 24, 2015

Troy, NY