N Brown Student Industry Challenge 2018 successfully completed

As in previous years, the Manchester SIAM-IMA Student Chapter has organized an Industry Student Challenge, this time in collaboration with the N Brown Group, represented by their Lead Data Scientists Dr Mary Guettel and Phil Nash.

The aim of the Industry Challenges is to expose students to open-ended and industrially relevant problems, usually from the area of Data Science. N Brown is one of the UK’s leading online retailers, whose key brands include Simply Be, Jacamo, and JD Williams. This year’s challenge on October 17 was about recommending the right dress size to fashion customers based on various parameters like shoe size, size of briefs, and others. There were about 40 participants from undergraduate, MSc, and PhD level, and even students from other Schools. The day was a great success with many different machine learning approaches being discussed and tested, including linear regression, k-nearest neighbours, and gradient boosting. The students also gained valuable insights into what it is like to work as a Data Scientist in the retail industry.

In a follow-up event on 1 November, the best teams, represented by Andra Popa, Jonathan Deakin, Mante Zemaityte, Steven Elsworth, and Wenrui Li, showcased their results at the N Brown headquarters in Manchester. The School was represented by Dr Stefan Güttel who gave an overview talk about our industry links, and an introduction to optimal classification and the Bayesian error rate. All attendees had the opportunity to discuss with N Brown staff from the Data Science, IT, and Human Resources divisions. The winners of the Challenge were awarded prizes sponsored by N Brown, including a brand-new computer.

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