Campus News

USC biostatistics students rank at international competition

Department of Population and Public Health Sciences April 14, 2017
Left to right: Biostatistics graduate students Dixin Shen, Terry Cai, Ken Chau. (Photo / Courtesy Meredith Franklin)

A team of three USC biostatistics graduate students ranked third in an international statistical analysis competition April 3.

The annual SAS Global Forum Student Symposium invites teams of university students and their faculty advisers to showcase their skills in applying SAS Analytics—a software suite used for advanced data analysis—to real-world data.

Data Conundrum

Teams chose problems to investigate and used their own data sets to analyze them and submit their findings and solutions to the symposium organizers.

Of the 33 teams who submitted to the competition, eight were chosen to present their projects in 20-minute breakout sessions at SAS Global Forum in April. USC’s team, the “Flow Riders” were flown to Orlando with their advisor, Meredith Franklin, assistant professor of preventive medicine, to present their report.

The team included Zhongjie “Terry” Cai and Khang “Ken” Chau, first-year biostatistics doctoral students, as well as Dixin Shen, a master’s of biostatistics student who will be entering the biostatistics doctoral program this fall.

Ask the data

The team’s project assessed the risk of drivers dying in severe traffic accidents when traveling below or above the average speed of traffic. Using data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and Caltrans, their analysis determined that in California, the risk of dying was highest when accidents involved a car stopped in the road, seatbelts were not used and there was disabling damage to the vehicle.

— By Larissa Puro