In 2018 US federal agencies spent 4.11 trillion dollars. This figure is reported by USASpending.gov, a clearinghouse for money spent by the United States Government. The data provided there represents the complex relationship between the agencies administering spending, the federal accounts that contain those funds, plus the states or other recipients receiving that money. Failure to fully understand this relationship sometimes yields unintended consequences for local policymakers and their affected communities. Where these relationships were previously obscured, data and analytics experts now have the ability to breakdown these relationships and either diagnose or predict spending outcomes.
Karsun Solutions is partnering with graduate students at the University of Southampton to analyze this big data. In our upcoming Making Sense of Government Data analytics hackathon we invite students to take two approaches to breaking down this complex data. In the visualization challenge, we ask students to take a descriptive and diagnostic approach. Alternatively, students may use the data to build useful predictive models.
Visualization Challenge: Understanding USASpending.gov Data
Students participating in our visualization competition explain complex data-intensive processes in a user friendly way. Using the USASpending.gov data students must visually portray information in a manner that’s meaningful to both a government policymaker and the average citizen. Students are challenged with thinking about the relationship between the parties involved versus new insights like highest spend, award or distribution.
Predictive Challenge: Investigating Income
In the predictive challenge we ask students not only to understand patterns and trends, but also to think about the impact of other publicly available data, such as income, on those trends. For instance, they could layer on income information provided by the Internal Revenue Service. Next, they might predict whether income is expected to rise or fall for those areas. In this track students come away with a clearer insight into building tools for policymakers. These tools have the power to guide the way national policies impact local spending or address shifting neighborhood demographics before they impact national policy.
Clarity through Data
Participants in either track are ultimately judged on their ability to demonstrate original findings in a concise matter while demonstrating technical prowess. Top teams will also demonstrate inference with clear, well thought out claims.
Karsun Solutions is thrilled to be part of this data and analytics hackathon. We are modernization experts serving customers across the federal government. Visit our event announcement to learn more about Karsun Solutions and our partners, the University of Southampton and the Centre for Operational Research, Management Science and Information Systems (CORMSIS.) Join me, Jason Marceau, later this spring as we share our hackathon insights after the event.