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Rensselaer Students Place Second in COVID-19 Computational Challenge

Rensselaer Students Place Second in COVID-19 Computational Challenge

June 19, 2020

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute students Yueyang Li ’20, Feng Wang ’20, Junxiong Tang ’20, and Tong Chen ’20 took second place in the 2020 COVID-19 Computational Challenge co-hosted by the City of Los Angeles and the Global Association for Research Methods and Data Science (RMDS Lab).

The COVID-19 Computational Challenge tasked participants with creating innovative solutions to determine the risk of exposure in and around the city of Los Angeles. Team RPI Solvers presented a model and dashboard for computing risk scores at given places of interest (e.g., grocery stores, restaurants, museums) by factoring in three key data sets: local infection rates, number of hourly visitors, and spatial density. 

The results were reviewed by a panel of judges from the RMDS Lab, the city of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and academia. Judges noted that the team “has shown great dedication to creating a risk scoring solution for the city of Los Angeles and surrounding communities. Aided by machine learning models, this winning project demonstrates technical innovation and shows commitment to open data and open source data science projects.”

The team was mentored by Dorit Nevo, associate professor and acting associate dean of the Lally School of Management. Chen, Li, and Tang are pursuing a master’s degree in business analytics and Wang, a master’s degree in electrical engineering.

For more information about the COVID-19 computational challenge, visit


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Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.