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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


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 Co-Advisor


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.

Jenna Wiens, Ph.D., Faculty Co-Advisor

Jenna Wiens is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) at the University of Michigan. Her primary research interests lie at the intersection of machine learning and healthcare. The overarching goal of her research agenda is to develop the computational methods needed to help organize, process, and transform clinical data into actionable knowledge.

Jonathan Stroud, Organizational Chair, Founder


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


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


Alex is an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, pursuing a B.S. in Computer Science with a 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


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


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


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.