Published: Aug. 29, 2017

Could data science help to solve America’s opioid crisis? Or better diagnose cancer and heart problems?

Those are just some of the questions the Colorado Data Science Team (CODATA) wants to tackle as the group moves into its second year. The group started in 2016 as a way to give undergraduate and graduate students hands-on experience working in teams to apply machine learning tools to real problems.

“In machine learning courses, the problems they give you are pretty contrived,” said team co-president Brad Gordon. “You don’t get a sense of how companies are using these techniques to solve problems.”

The group hosts internal challenges and competes in global competitions like the ones seen on platforms like Kaggle. Last year, Oracle sponsored a competition to have students look at look at anonymized customer data in order to maximize revenue for an advertising campaign.

In addition to real-world data experience, Gordon said the group is also a great way to make industry contacts. One of the competitors from the Oracle challenge went on to intern with the company, and Gordon said the group hopes to bring in more industry speakers this year for regular “meet a data scientist” talks.

Anyone interested in data science is welcome, and the group is especially seeking master’s students pursuing a data-science track.

To learn more about the team and the optional 1-credit companion course, or to join their mailing list, visit  

Data Science Leadership Team

  • Brad Gordon and Monal Narasimhamurthy, Co-Presidents
  • Pedro Rodriguez, Team Captain
  • Sarah Withee: Undergraduate Representative
  • Rafael Frongillo, Faculty Advisor