CS&E Students Win Novice Division at 2023 MinneMUDAC Challenge

Department of Computer Science & Engineering students Charlie Hart, Jack Rogers, Kennedy Johnson, and Tom Bareket won the top prize in the novice division of the 2023 MinneMUDAC Challenge competition. The event is an analytics-based competition where teams of graduate and undergraduate students explore real-world data and present findings to a panel of judges. Partnering with the Minnesota Twins organization, the MinneMUDAC 2023 Challenge was centered around understanding the factors that influence attendance at baseball games. Led by Hart, the team presented their findings on attendance using machine learning.

“We were able to come up with a lot of different factors that you can take into account when trying to predict attendance,” Hart explained. “We looked at various weather data, stadium data, data on the competing team, and whether their rank affected attendance. We were able to then use those factors and apply them into a machine learning model where it predicted attendance.  The data was also trained and tested in order to use in future algorithms. After that, we produced a model and gave our findings in a business pitch.”

Sponsored by CS&E teaching specialist Kate Jensen, Hart and team were able to apply both computer science and business skills in order to present their finished product to the panel. They survived multiple rounds of the competition and eventually won this year's competition, which was hosted at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis last month. 

“There's definitely a lot of applications you can take from the model,” Hart said. “For example, if you can determine that there are a lot of people expected to attend a game, you at least have a general idea of the resources and management needed. You can make those business decisions based on attendance that then affect staffing, security, concessions, and merchandise. If there's a game where not a lot of people are projected to attend, you can cut down on staff costs and variable costs to reduce waste.”

MinneMUDAC provides an experiential opportunity with far-reaching benefits to student growth. Many participants cite the competition as a concrete example to share later on while interviewing for a job. The competition is presented by MinneAnalytics, a nonprofit organization serving the data science and emerging technology community in Minnesota, the Upper Midwest, and beyond by providing accessible, authentic, and engaging events.

Learn more about the competition at the 2023 MinneMUDAC website