About MDST

The Michigan Data Science Team (MDST) is a club at the University of Michigan which brings together students of various disciplines through competitions structured around finding patterns in data. Sometimes we compete in public competitions online and sometimes we compete in challenges we create for ourselves. We also partner with other organizations to try and help people with their data problems. Sometimes we even make a challenge out of that!

Current Board


Jacob Abernethy, Ph.D., Faculty Advisor, Founder

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Jake is an assistant professor in the department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at the University of Michigan. His primary interest is in Machine Learning, with a particular focus in sequential decision making, online learning, online algorithms and adversarial learning models.


Eric Schwartz, Ph.D., Faculty Advisor

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Professor Eric Schwartz’s expertise focuses on predicting customer behavior, understanding its drivers, and examining how firms actively manage their customer relationships through interactive marketing. His research in customer analytics stretches managerial applications, including online display advertising, email marketing, video consumption, and word-of-mouth.


Jonathan Stroud, Organizational Chair, Founder

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Jonathan is a first year Ph.D. student in the department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE). His research interests are in Machine Learning and Computer Vision, including deep learning, structured prediction, and knowledge representation.


Jared Webb, Team Captain B

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Jared Webb obtained his undergraduate degree in Applied Math and is currently seeking his Ph.D. in Applied Math, both from Brigham Young University. As Team Captain B, Jared designs and presents tutorials on technical subjects within machine learning and data science for the benefit of the team.


Alex Chojnacki, Communications Chair

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Alex is an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science with a wide variety of companion topics such as design, psychology, and math. As Communications Chair, Alex maintains contact with the greater club membership, promoting their ideas and advocating for their concerns. He also manages the website, email lists, and social accounts, responding to any inquiries across those mediums.


Arya Farahi, Team Captain A

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Arya obtained his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering and Physics. He is currently seeking a PhD in Physics at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. His main area of research is Clusters of Galaxies and Large-Scale Structures in the Universe, with emphasis on multiwavelength clusters detection algorithms. He is working on large-scale simulations to characterizing X-Ray and optical cluster finders. As Team Captain A, Arya helps in leading high-impact projects and leads a small group of advanced team members on public Kaggle challenges.


Cyrus Anderson, Recruitment Chair

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Currently finishing his undergraduate degrees in Mathematics, Economics, and Computer Science Engineering. His current research deals with learning in fully cooperative multiagent systems. His interests include autonomy, learning, and robotic sensing. In addition, becoming fluent in Japanese.

As Recruitment Chair, Cyrus plans initiatives for the team’s expansion through recruitment and collaboration with other organizations, including the design of new services provided by the team, promoting a diverse collective knowledge base within the team, and raising awareness across campus.


Chengyu Dai, Data Manager

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How can one be more than just a database guy? How can we scale MDST collaboration painlessly with custom data architectures? These are the questions Chengyu strives to answer as MDST’s data manager.


Current Members

An incomplete list of members


Alexander Zaitzeff

  • PhD in Applied and Interdisciplinary Mathematics
  • Competitions Completed: Springleaf, RateMyProfessor, Anything from the Flint Project
  • “If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.” – John von Neumann
  • Personal Page

Jingye Liu

  • Masters in Information Science & Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Competitions Completed: Anything from the Flint Project
  • My specializations are information retrieval, information analysis, and machine learning.
  • Personal Page

Guangsha Shi

  • Ph.D student in Materials Science and Scientific Computing
  • Competitions Completed: RateMyProfessor, FARS, UMS Visualization, Anything from the Flint Project
  • I do computational study of solid-state physics. Also interested in machine learning.
  • Personal Page

Wenbo Shen

  • Ph.D in Physics
  • Competitions Completed: FARS, UMS Visualization, Anything from the Flint Project
  • “All models are wrong, but some are useful” (George E. P. Box, 1976).
  • Personal Page

Anthony Kremin

  • Univ. of Michigan Ph.D. Candidate, Physics
  • Competitions Completed: Springleaf, Anything from the Flint Project
  • I am a PhD student studying observational cosmology at the University of Michigan, with general interest in data science and machine learning.

Sheng Yang

  • Ph.D in Physics
  • Competitions Completed: RateMyProfessor, FARS, UMS Visualization, Anything from the Flint Project
  • Personal Page

Xinyu Tan

  • Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering
  • Competitions Completed: Springleaf, RateMyProfessor, UMS Visualization, Anything from the Flint Project
  • I am an experimental biologist and have an interest in machine learning and visualization.

Sean Ma

  • Phd in Neuroscience
  • Competitions Completed: RateMyProfessor, FARS, UMS Visualization, Anything from the Flint Project
  • I research in the mental health / healthcare space and have a passion combining machine learning skills with my entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Linkedin