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Shopee launched its inaugural National Data Science Challenge (NDSC) this year, and DigiPen (Singapore) is proud to be one of its official university partners. “Data science” is more than just a buzzword in the industry these days, as Singapore businesses move toward digitizing their processes and services. As part of the ongoing transition into a digital- and data-driven economy, more people need to be equipped and trained to meet these data science needs. The NDSC hopes to fill this gap by equipping both students and professionals with the technical skills and expertise to solve these challenges. At the same time, it also aims to provide a platform to facilitate collaboration opportunities and knowledge sharing.

The theme of this year’s challenge is “Product Information Extraction in the Wild,” and participants are tasked with extracting knowledge from large volumes of textual and visual data using machine learning analytics. Teams of three to four members will be competing in one of two categories, beginner or advanced. For beginner teams, the focus of the challenge involves product category classification. For advanced teams, the focus is product information extraction.

Both categories were open to students currently enrolled in local junior colleges, polytechnics, or universities, as well as to non-tech professionals working in Singapore. However, those already working as tech professionals could only take part in the advanced category. While the registration period closed on 9 February, the competition itself is currently underway. Winners in both categories of the NDSC stand to win attractive cash prizes. The champion teams will win $3,000 per team and return tickets to visit the Shopee Shenzhen Tech Centre for an office visit. The two runner-up teams will win $2,000 and $1,000 respectively, and the most creative teams in each category will win $800. All winners will also be considered for full-time positions and internship opportunities at Shopee, making this a good stepping stone for those looking to pursue a career in tech.

Every participant who successfully registered for the NDSC will also be able to take part in various training workshops. Most training providers offer these workshops free-of-charge for participants, but more in-depth courses are also available at a fee. These fees will be fully subsidized if the participant is a Singaporean and studying in a local educational institution. The workshops have received overwhelmingly positive responses so far, prompting the Shopee team to host additional workshops to cater to the demand.

The competition is hosted on Kaggle, an online data science community that facilitates the finding and sharing of public data sets. Details of the challenge were released on 23 February during the opening ceremony, and participants have four weeks to execute and submit their projects.

As a higher education institute that specializes in computer science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies, DigiPen (Singapore) is proud to come on board as one of Shopee’s university partners for the NDSC. The world of data science is one of endless possibilities, and we believe that together, we can help support and cultivate data science education for the benefit of Singapore’s digital economy.