Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Quinlan's winning streak continues at Teradata Universe

Quinlan

Quinlan undergraduate students were winners at the Teradata Universe conference in Denver in October 2019.

Every year since 2014, Quinlan teams have brought home top honors from Teradata Universe, a global data analytics conference. This year, the team brought home the Student Analytics Challenge award for Best Analytics and Visualization.

The team was comprised of five undergraduate students: Grace Sperr, Nick Damato, Allison Heithoff, Varsha Kalangari, and Eric Stepanovic. They were advised by Professors Svetlozar Nestorov, Nenad Jukić, and Abhishek Sharma.

Surprising trends in the data

The challenge: find a publicly available data set, run analytics to find insights and trends, and report the findings. The Quinlan team looked at more than 17 million bike trips between 2013 and 2018 on Divvy, Chicago’s bike sharing system, and found some surprising results.

“We found trends that show bike-sharing data reflects socioeconomic inequality in Chicago,” said team member Grace Sperr. “Low-income areas were also low ridership areas. That wasn’t at all what we were originally looking for in the data set, but every team member found the trends individually. We didn’t expect to find such strong evidence of income inequality looking at something like bike sharing.”

They explored the barriers to ridership in low-income areas, such as the number of bike docks and access to trails, and highlighted the need for Divvy to develop a holistic approach to these areas.

Hard work pays off

The team had been working on the project since April 2019 for the competition in late October.

“When we found out we won for data visualization, we were all so excited because that’s what we went for. That was our goal,” said Sperr. “I think it spoke to the curriculum in the Information Systems program and at Quinlan in general that we won. It prepares students to put their best foot forward and show what they’re capable of. It was a very rewarding and validating experience to be recognized for our work.”

Grace Sperr and Nick Damato presented the team’s findings in front of a panel of judges and audience at the conference. Following the presentation, conference attendees chose Loyola as the winner for data visualization out of six global finalists.

“The student competitions at Teradata Universe are a great opportunity for our students to showcase their deep technical knowledge, presentation skills, and teamwork,” said Professor Svetlozar Nestorov.  “Our continued success is a reflection of the versatility and strength of our entire department.”

Watch the presentation

Learn more

Read more about Quinlan’s history of Teradata success: