The definition of Mettle is to “face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way,” and this is exactly the way the team at NLP Logix approached competing in this year’s KDD Cup. It all started in early June when Matt Berseth, Co-Founder and Lead Scientist, floated the idea of competing with the team at NLP Logix.
“I knew that if we competed as a team, using LogixStudio, the machine learning tool kit that we developed using the computing language “Julia”, that we should be able to finish in the top 20,” said Berseth. “The real challenge would be balancing the work we have to deliver to our clients, while at the same time step onto the world’s stage with the best data science teams and perform at the highest level. ”
The KDD Cup has been in existence for about 20 years and consists of an annual contest to bring the world’s best data science teams together to solve a specific problem. This year the challenge saw 821 teams work to identify which students had the highest probability of dropping out of an on-line course for the large education company, XuetangX, which is based out of China and hosts over 100 Chinese courses and over 280 international courses on their platform.
Over the course of the competition, the team at NLP Logix, as well as the other competitors, would apply algorithms to a test set of data and submit them to KDD for scoring. The running scores would then be published on a leader board at the KDD Cup 2015 web site. During most of the six weeks, NLP Logix was able to maintain a top 10 ranking moving up as much as into fourth place.
“It was a fun challenge,” said Robert Marsh, Co-Founder and CIO, NLP Logix. “While we all had to put in quite a bit of effort during off-hours, we learned a great deal which will directly benefit our customers.”
The final standings were determined by scoring a set of data that was withheld against the best algorithms that the competitors had submitted, and in the end, the team from NLP Logix earned a 13th place finish.
“I am very proud of the work we did,” said Michael Mann, Senior Software Engineer and member of the KDD Cup team. “We learned a great deal of lessons, but the most important one I think is that we are one of the best data science teams in the world. Our team and tools just proved it with a top 1.5% finish against the best out there.”
NLP Logix proved its mettle with such a strong showing in the KDD Cup 2015 and is also honored to have had the Jacksonville, Florida tech community rally behind the team. You can see Matt Berseth and Michael Mann interviewed by Kent Justice for his WJXT News 4 Jax show called “This Week in Jacksonville” at this link: http://www.news4jax.com/a-breakthrough-for-the-stem-industry/34243464 The NLP Logix segment begins at 22:25 in the clip.