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Doing Good with Data - Case competition focuses on AI problem solving

More than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 72 colleges and universities across the United States recently worked in teams to harness the power of Microsoft Azure Fundamentals and Microsoft Azure AI to solve an expensive healthcare documentation problem for the Data 4 Good Case Competition.

Jointly sponsored by Purdue’s Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business master’s programs, the Krenicki Center for Business Analytics and Machine Learning, Microsoft, INFORMS, Prediction Guard, and Certiport, this elite case competition challenged undergraduate and graduate students across the country to compete for $45,000 in prize money.

The holistic experience not only provided an opportunity to use data, technology, process, and research-based methods to make good decisions for good problems, but alsoconnected participants to leading data analytics organizations through credentialing and networking.

The competition asked participants to build a software system that assists healthcare workers in extracting structured medical information from transcribed informal conversations between patients and professionals.

On December 1 and 2, 2023, regional winners presented their solutions, using machine learning capabilities in Microsoft Azure AI services to train voice data using large language models (LLMs) and to automate the process of gathering medical documentation. DePaul University took home top honors in the graduate division, while Brigham Young University won the undergraduate division.Matthew Lanham Headshot

“Our key objectives are to ensure that we help students gain a fundamental grounding in AI and in-demand industry Azure skills and then verify that knowledge with Microsoft Certification,” says Navi Singh, Microsoft's senior product marketing manager. “The Data 4 Good competition inspired students from many disciplines to not only get the skills but also to earn the certifications. You don’t need a technical background to learn technical skills.”

Microsoft also worked with Matthew Lanham, Purdue University clinical assistant professor of management, quantitative methods, to provide free Azure learning resources to students.

“Students made the most of the provided fundamentals training and then took the related exam,” Lanham says. “One of the most exciting outcomes from the competition was that 608 students passed the exam to earn the Azure Fundamentals certification. That is a huge win for the students and the companies that will hire them.