Q:

How long does the event last?

A:

The actual event on October 18th will be most of the day, but that's just beginning. That day is about meeting your group and being introduced to your Data Guardian. From there, you and your group will have most of the academic year to plan and execute a research collaboration around the dataset and problem that your Guardian presents.

Q:

How are the groups chosen? Can I pick my group?

A:

Our planning committee, which is comprised of a variety of academics and professionals, will be hand-selecting the groups based on your application. You may request to be on a team with one other person, but we cannot make any guarantees. Part of this opportunity is also to meet other researchers that you may be interested in working with outside this collaboration, and we want to make sure everyone gets this opportunity.

Q:

Is there a prize?

A:

The judging and competition will be for sport, but that won't make it any less fun or rewarding, and a lack of a monetary or tangible prize does not eliminate the endless opportunities that could present themselves as a result of your participation (and possible victory) in this event. There are many people, both on the Faculty Board and the planning committee, who are eager to find innovative minds to work with. Additionally, Data Swap is being hosted by a widely respected media organization and will undoubtedly add to the overall recognition of the event. Finally, at the end of this event, you will (hopefully) have developed a polished and comprehensive research project, that you and your group are free to publish wherever you'd like.

Q:

What is the Inspiration Day?

A:

The day before our big kick-off, we'll be inviting guests from academia and industry who are doing innovative work with tools and processes that you may find useful in your own research. Rather than have a day of tutorials about the latest technologies, we'd like to show you what's possible, and give you some cliff notes about where to go to find answers. You'll also have a chance to meet the other participants and socialize informally.

Q:

What sort of research are we expected to do?

A:

Well, that depends on your group and your Data Guardian. Each Data Guardian has the chance to pose a specific research question relating to their data. It's then your job to work with your Guardian to chart a road map for your research, and develop a product that is meaningful to their organization. At the end of the competition, part of your overall score will be based on how successfully you answered the question that the Guardian posed.

Q:

So, does this mean we can only use one dataset? What if I need to cross-reference?

A:

No, you may use whatever data you'd like, including other datasets presented at the event. Moreover, if you can find a way to combine two of the datasets presented in a meaningful way that answers your Guardian's research questions, there are some bonus points to be earned! However, the dataset you are assigned to needs to be the focal point of your research, and your findings should rely heavily on that data. For instance, if you are working with the Tax Assessor's data, but your paper is primarily focused on the ethnic demographics of neighborhoods then you will lose some points.

Q:

Who will be judging the competition at the end of the school year?

A:

We'll be selecting a panel of judges from both academia and industry to weigh the merits of each project.

Do we have to write a paper? What is the intended medium of our research?

No! Please feel free to interpret your findings to play to your strengths as a group, as long as it provides a comprehensive answer to the research question. If you have a talented data designer or game developer in your group, and you'd like to showcase your work that way, style points for you!

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us: info [at] dataswap2013 [dot] com!

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