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Waterloo students win $20,000 at Citadel and Citadel Securities datathon

Monday, March 5, 2018

A team of four Waterloo students took first prize in the first Citadel and Citadel Securities Data Open datathon competition of 2018. The event drew 80 competitors from Waterloo, University of Toronto and University of Montreal. The winning team, which included Waterloo computer science student Richard Wu, will compete in the championship against approximately 20 other teams later this year.

“The datathon is a meaningful experience with a real problem and real datasets and our challenge is to come up with questions to ask and solve using insights we can gather from the data,” said Wu. “It is a valuable experience for aspiring data scientists and computer scientists who are considering the financial markets as a career path, and an opportunity to explore the Toronto Stock Exchange, where the competition was held.”

The 2018 datathon presented a problem statement on smart cities and urban planning that was supported with a number of datasets. Students had seven hours to work through the materials and present their research and recommendations to a panel of judges. This type of quantitative research simulates the type of work that many employees at global hedge fund Citadel and market maker Citadel Securities do daily. 

“Citadel has an entrepreneurial environment that is driven by meritocracy and a desire to innovate and make an impact,” said Candice Berger, Talent Strategist, Citadel. “Our datathon sends a very clear message of what is important to us and gives us an opportunity to interact with interested students in a very meaningful way.”

Effective collaboration is what set Waterloo’s winning team apart from their competitors. Citadel allows students to enter their own teams and use any coding language and machine tools required. The winning team is exceptional in their ability to work together as a team with varying skill sets, manage their time and produce under pressure.

“This is the second year a Waterloo team, including Richard, have won Citadel’s competition—which demonstrates the skill and talent of Waterloo’s students. We are very proud of the winning team and all those who participated this year,” said Stephen M. Watt, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo.

Over 10,000 students applied to participate in Citadel’s Data Open series last year. Datathons were held across North America, the United Kingdom and Ireland. In 2018, the Data Open will grow to include competitions in Paris and Beijing.

 Thomas Arab Alexander, Pranav Barot, Ryan Kinnear, Richard Wu

Winning students: Thomas Arab Alexander, Pranav Barot, Ryan Kinnear and Richard Wu

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