As part of the 2020 University of South Carolina (UofSC) National Big Data Health Science Conference (https://www.sc-bdhs-conference.org), UofSC Big Data Health Science Center (BDHSC) launched the First Student Case Competition in Columbia, SC from Feb 7-9, 2020. In its inaugural year the competition attracted 19 teams from 8 major universities in the U.S. and world, including University of South Carolina, Allen University, Baylor University, Duke University, Nanjing Medical University (China), Oklahoma State University, Purdue University, and University of Alabama.
The Big Data Health Science Case Competition aims to provide enthusiastic teams of graduate and senior undergraduate students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge to the analysis of big datasets in healthcare. It is designed to be a hands-on experience that tests the students’ analytical, teamwork, communication, and presentation skills in order to build a talent pipeline in big data health science.
The analytics case received by the student teams was inspired by the real-life events that took place on January 6, 2005, in Graniteville, South Carolina. At roughly 2:40AM EST, two trains collided near the Avondale Mills plan in Graniteville exposing the residents of Graniteville and Aiken cities to chlorine gas. This incident cost the lives of several residents and imposed an economical cost exceeding $100,000,000. During this incident, health systems were overwhelmed with the number of patients and symptoms affecting the patients. The greatest challenge was identifying which symptoms are associated to which chemicals for each patient. Currently more than 350 chemicals are transported through the US transportation system that can be the subject of future incidents. The main goal of this year’s case competition was to develop analytic tools that mitigate the human and financial cost of similar incidents in the future.