Celebrating our First Anniversary with a Science Fair

June 1, 2014 Miriam Chan

This May Civis Analytics celebrated its first birthday! In honor of our raison d’etre—data science—we celebrated by having a grand science fair. Clad in Civis lab coats, staffers led various booths showcasing their analytic prowess in relatable terms.

Civis Science Fair
Senior Data Scientist, Derrick Higgins, asked participants to compete against a computer in predicting words from politicians’ speeches.

Civis Science Fair
Here Data Scientist Paul Wyatt demonstrated sampling bias by having guests estimate the weight of candy. Volunteers were asked to choose 5 pieces of candy from a bag of 100, weigh the 5 candies, and then use that measurement to estimate the weight of the entire bag. Routinely, the guesses were too high as they did not account for various sizes of the different candies. Large candies are easy to see and to grab, while small candies fall neglected to the bottom of the bag.

Civis Science Fair
Data Scientist Elaine Lee used the Foursquare API to map out peoples’ routes around the city of Chicago after they pick up their coffee from their favorite coffee shop.

Civis Science Fair
Friend of Civis Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also stopped by. Here Director of Engineering Jenny Farver and Data Scientist Kelly Kreft asked the Mayor who he thought was the worst band in the world. The Mayor offered to include his favorite band instead. Monitors displayed Kelly’s Tableau visualization of attendee responses compared to the band’s actual popularity ranking, based on data that Jenny scraped from Spotify’s public API.

Senior Data Scientists Michelangelo D’Agostino and Joerg Rings also implemented a Markov chain Monte Carlo method for calculating the value of pi, using Python and image recognition. See [here]({% post_url 2014-08-13-measuring-pi-with-lentils-and-python %}) for the details on how they did it.

Civis Science Fair
CEO Dan Wagner awarded Mayor Emanuel with his own Civis Science Fair ribbon.

Of course, the party wasn’t all big data and predictive analysis—DJs spun tunes while guests partook of libations and Big Star tacos. Magnolia Photo Booth also provided some great photo-ops for guests and staffers alike.

Civis Science Fair

The post Celebrating our First Anniversary with a Science Fair appeared first on Civis Analytics.

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