Five graduate students from the Department of Statistics in the College of Science at Virginia Tech were recognized as top five finalists in the 2014 Capital One Modeling Competition held last month. 

The competition challenges teams with big data and requires them to develop new techniques to solve the problem.

The team included Dengfeng Zhang, Meng Zhao, Man Tang, Xinyi Tan, and Zhenguo Gao. The team was led by faculty advisor Xinwei Deng, assistant professor of statistics.

“It was a challenge in computational modeling and data analytics,” said Eric Smith, professor and head of the Department of Statistics. “At this level of competition, being a top five finalist is no easy task and the event provided an excellent platform to train our future leaders in the field.”

Smith is helping to lead the College of Science's new bachelor's degree program in computational modeling and data analytics. The new degree program offered for the first time in the 2015 spring semester. He said the development of the undergraduate program will set the stage for continued success at future competitions.

Virginia Tech has had at least one team in the national finals for two of the three years since the competition began.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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