US technology major Microsoft, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), had organised the first ever Data Science Student Challenge (DSSC) hackathon in Bengaluru.

The event was part of IISc's annual college festival Pravega 2016, which witnessed close to 200 college students' participation from across the country.

It kicked off on 29 January and concluded on 30 January. This 24-hour hackathon gave students access to open government data and derived insights from that dataset, using the power of data analytics.

The students, with the help of a team of senior Microsoft mentors, reportedly succeeded in generating over 50 ideas that could help build digital solutions to address the socio-economic issues in the country and accelerate the pace of the government's Digital India programme.

"The demand for data scientists is making it one of the most promising career options for students today. There is a critical need to address the talent gap, both in data science research and its practice. As the premier institute of research and higher learning in India, we at IISc are working towards this in multiple ways. The recent creation of the Department of Computational and Data Sciences, the Big Data public lecture series, and new data science and analytics courses are some of these efforts. This spirit is embodied by our students as well, and I am pleased that IISc's Pravega technical fest has partnered with Microsoft to host its first global Data Science Students Challenge in India at our campus," said Professor Yogesh Simmhan, Assistant Professor, Department of Computational and Data Sciences (CDS) at IISc.

It is believed the demand for analytics skill is going up steadily, but there is a huge skill deficit both globally and in India. A McKinsey Global Institute study says the US will face a shortage of about 190,000 data scientists and 1.5 million managers and analysts who can understand and make decisions using Big Data by 2018.

"The Hackathon is an example of the deep partnerships we are forging with academia and students around data science and machine learning. At Microsoft, we are deeply committed to research and development efforts behind Azure and Cortana Analytics Suite. Data science exists across Microsoft products and services including Azure, Bing, HoloLens, Xbox and Skype. Using data science, we can make high-value predictions that can guide better decisions and smart actions in real time without human intervention. This is one of the reasons why companies like Microsoft are investing heavily in Big Data and machine learning," said Sundar Srinivasan, Partner Group Programme Manager, Microsoft India Development Centre.

"The Data Science Student Challenge at IISc aims to reiterate the significance of machine learning amongst the aspiring technical professionals by offering them a platform to experience the power of data science in addition to mentorship from senior professionals from Microsoft. We are delighted to see some interesting solutions being built by students within a span of 24 hours. Machine learning coupled with Big Data analytics will be the next big frontier for the computing industry," he added.

Winners of the hackathon:

Amog Mannekote, Tanmay Chinchore and Abhilash K from MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bengaluru won the challenge for prediction analysis on diabetes in Indian women.

G Arun Kumar & Aravind Sundaresan from People's Education Society Institute of Technology Bengaluru, South Campus, won the second prize for prediction analysis of heart diseases, and Amleshwar Kumar, Indranil Bhattacharya, Raghuram D Bharadwaj, Shreyas S and Swapnil Dhama from IISc won the third prize for predicting mortality rates of patients in ICU.

The winning teams were rewarded with a cash prizes of Rs 50,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 15,000, respectively.