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ODU Students Share $1,000 Prize for Winning Analytics Competition

By Brendan O'Hallarn

Two Old Dominion students were awarded a $1,000 prize by local technology company Netarus for winning the University's first Analytics Challenge.

The Team NASA Old Dominion students, Namana Pawar, Akanksha Maskeri, Sayantan Ghosh and Arjun Jois competed with 16 other students in the computer science summer research workshop, led by Ajay Gupta, adjunct instructor in the Department of Computer Science.

"I was impressed to see the joy and motivation of the students when they were challenged to demonstrate their core knowledge by solving a real-world problem presented to them by Netarus," Gupta said.

Student competitors used products developed by Netarus and the University's analytics program to capture and analyze data at a local W.M. Jordan Company construction site.

"We are thrilled that we were in a position to partner with ODU to engage aspiring problem-solvers to learn first-hand how access to highly accurate and quickly obtained data impacts safety and efficiency in the construction industry," said Netarus chief technology officer Christopher Machut.

Students utilized an innovative approach in their problem-solving process, including HoistCam and HoistCam Director, Netarus products that capture and store data utilizing a type of drone technology.

"We were pleasantly surprised with how well all of the students used a video analytics platform to demonstrate the real-world use of data at an active construction site," Machut said.

Students had access to a W. M. Jordan construction site's data including pictures and videos captured by HoistCam since July 11.

Geoffrey Bean, a virtual construction coordinator with W.M. Jordan, was impressed with the work of the students in the competition. The company has a reputation throughout the local construction industry for its willingness to use technology in the early stages of project development.

A panel of three judges evaluated students' submissions on creativity, usefulness, efficiency and associated costs to support recommendations as a result of the analytics collected and interpreted.

"As an incentive to take this challenge seriously, we agreed to award the top two submissions with $500. We hope this challenge will become an annual ODU event," Machut said.

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