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Wake Forest students take second place in NASA-sponsored competition


February 14, 2007

A team of five Wake Forest University students placed second in the first Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Text Mining Competition, sponsored and organized by the Intelligent Data Understanding group of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

The students shared a prize of $1,000.  The competition took place Jan. 19 in Minneapolis, Minn., as part of the 2007 SIAM Text Mining Workshop.  The workshop is held in conjunction with the Seventh SIAM International Conference on Data Mining, slated to take place April 26-28 in Minneapolis. 

The team members, all computer science students at Wake Forest, are Edward G. Allan, Michael R. Horvath, Christopher V. Kopek, Brian T. Lamb and Thomas S. Whaples.  The team’s work was completed as part of a selected topics in computer science class at Wake Forest taught by Michael W. Berry, a visiting professor during the fall 2006 semester.  Berry, professor and interim head of the department of computer science at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, served as the team’s advisor for the competition. 

The contest was open to all workshop attendees, including undergraduate and graduate students, researchers and professionals.  The challenge was to see who could best devise a procedure that in a limited number of steps would identify and label hidden patterns of information in a large database of aviation safety documents. 

The first place entry was submitted by a Canadian information technology institute and third place went to a team from the University of Tehran in Iran.

The competition was judged by members of the Intelligent Data Understanding group at the NASA Ames Research Center.

Press Contacts:

Maggie Barrett
(336) 758-5237


Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237


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