UP Los Baños sweeps 1st SAS Academic Analytics Contest





Manila, Philippines (Feb 26, 2014) – A team of students and a faculty member from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) won the top prizes in their respective divisions at the just-concluded 1st SAS Academic Analytics Conference.

Aizobelle Huelgas, UPLB professor on Statistical Theories and Categorical Data Analysis, went home with the first prize trophy in the Faculty Division, while UPLB 4th year students Ian Dominic Nuestro, Angelyn Mananghaya, and Micahelah De Chavez took home the gold in the Students Division for the papers they submitted during the 1st SAS Philippines Academic Analytics Conference.

The Faculty Division and Student Division winners will receive donation worth of product and services to support their alma mater’s analytics program, and the opportunity to participate in the SAS Global Forum in Washington, D.C. 

Huelgas’ paper entitled, “Saving Lives, Changing Lives using SAS Predictive Analytics,” aims to forecast the pattern of supply-and-demand for healthcare professionals in different parts of the country. This was done by comparing the number of existing number of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers, with the number of reported medical patients in different locations. The same will allow medical institutions to find out which places are in need of medical professionals so they may deploy specialists who can address specific illnesses and conditions in any given area.

“This (report) encourages medical hospitals and clinics to deploy doctors who are experts in different fields. The effectiveness becomes apparent during the prevalence of some type of disease,” Huelgas says.

Meanwhile, the 4th year students’ paper entitled, “Predicting the Currency Exchange Rate of US Dollars and Philippine Pesos leveraging on Big Data coming from Google Trends” had sought to provide interesting insights into utilizing the US currency’s behaviour in Google Trends and in finding out what the currency exchange rate would be between the US dollar and Philippine peso at any given time.

The students’ report is important since it can help economists and financial analysts predict performance of the US dollar based on certain factors, thus allowing them to implement programs that utilize upward trends in US dollar exchange rates, as well as introduce measures that can dampen the effects of a negative exchange rate.

According to John Lorenzo Yambot, UPLB professor for Statistical Computing and faculty adviser for the three winning students, what made the students’ paper unique is that they had utilized data from the Internet to look into currency behaviour. It proved that any amount of information from the Internet, no matter how simple, could be used to make accurate predictions.

SAS Philippines Country Operations Director Maxie Garin says the competition showcased the growing competencies of academic institutions in the Philippines when it comes to data analysis. She emphasized the need to develop more data scientists who can find big data relationships and use these findings to create opportunities that can benefit various sectors.

  • UPLB Students
  • UPLB Faculty

“Our academic institutions will have to step up because more of these big data analysis (skills) would be required. SAS Philippines will continue to support these programs by holding conferences that link up the academe with industry leaders,” Garin says.

The SAS Philippines Academic Analytics Conference was held last February 13, 2014 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. It gathered all of the SAS Academic Program Partners in the Philippines in an effort to build a community of data scientists. The conference was also used as a venue for exchanging ideas on big data analysis, as well as in creating opportunities for better analytics development among the different industrial and academic sectors in the Philippines.

Participating academic institutions include the Asia Pacific College; Asian College of Science and Technology; Ateneo de Manila University,De La Salle University and its associate institution, the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute; Mapua Institute of Technology, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, University of the Philippines Diliman School of Statistics; University of the Philippines Los Banos Institute of Statistics; University of the East; and University of Santo Tomas.

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Author

Irwin Allen Rivera loves his wife's cooking so much he's now twice the man he used to be. His English essay won a Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature in 2012. His philosophical-horror story appeared in Philippine Speculative Fiction 8 (2013). He was managing editor and lead writer of Sites and Symbols 2 (2005), a coffee-table book about buildings in UP Diliman - his alma mater (BA Philosophy; MA Creative Writing continuing). He worked at the UP Diliman Information Office before shifting to web content writing. His sudden fiction, "Notwithstanding Pigs," initially a Friendster testimonial, appeared in Philippines Graphic (2006) and in Very Short Stories for Harried Readers (2007). He used to write for www.technoodling.net.