Data+ Research Teams Focus on Timing

July 6, 2016

While many students are spending their summer vacations at the beach or traveling with family and friends, 67 students are hard at work on their Data+ research projects at Duke.

Data+ is a summer research program for students to broaden their exposure across disciplines, engage in partnerships and deepen their research experience. During the course of the summer they meet three days a week for ten weeks for a collaborative lunch to share experiences and progress on the third floor of Gross Hall.

Night Vision

Joel Tewksbury and Miriam Goldman are two undergraduate students investigating the genetics of night vision. They’re doing a time series analysis of darkness adaption with the mentorship of James Murphy and their faculty advisor Elizabeth Cirulli.

Night VisionThe purpose of this research team is to discover what has not been researched before with generic data and understand how night vision works. They are using data from 1,243 healthy participants to test and compare the speed of adaption versus end score results and compare the generic data.

Once this is completed, they hope to describe darkness adaption speed, account for high variability of their findings, remove the outliers in the data and find the correlation with the speed of adaption as it relates to the genetic analysis.

Theme Parks

Summer is a time when many people head to theme parks—but they can be faced with long lines for popular attractions. Students from another Data+ team are analyzing the wait time at world-famous theme parks under the Disney World brand. Disney World is made up of four theme parks, which are Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.

The students will then compare the average time that customers actually spend waiting in line with the estimated wait time that the theme parks post. Then, they will examine the discrepancy between the posted times and the effect that they have on the customers’ behavior.

Long lines at theme park entrance

Student team members Oscar Li, Jerry Pan and Lei Qian presented their week 3 progressions on June 6th with the help of their faculty sponsors Alessandro Arlotto and Yehua Wei as well as their project manager Andrew Frazelle, a Ph.D. candidate.

By the end of the summer the team would like to confirm their assumption of a discrepancy in the times posted and the actual waiting time, as well as to predict actual wait times using past posted wait times and to discover any causal relationship between these two variables.

All Data+ teams will share their findings at a poster session in Gross Hall on Friday, July 29.

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Nathaniel WaddellWritten by Nathaniel Waddell, a Spring 2016 graduate of North Carolina Central University who is working as a communications intern for Bass Connections at Duke University. Originally from Wilmington, North Carolina, he majored in mass communications with a concentration in broadcast media. He is hoping to continue gaining experience in this field before applying to graduate programs.

Data+ is sponsored by Bass Connections, the Information Initiative at Duke, the Social Science Research Institute, the departments of Mathematics and Statistical Science, MEDx, and the Vice Provost for Research. Other Duke sponsors include Duke Health, Sanford School of Public Policy, Parking and Transportation, Development and Alumni Affairs, Duke Network Analysis Center, Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, Professor Peter Lange, and the departments of Biology, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, and Computer Science. Government funding comes from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Outside funding comes from Geometric Data Analytics, Inc., Sankofa, Inc., and RTI International. Community partnerships, data and interesting problems come from the Durham Neighborhood Compass, the North Carolina Justice Center, and the National Center for Gender Equality, the Smithsonian, Public Opinion Strategies,, the Triad Health Network, University of North Carolina–Greensboro, and the Dean of Academic Affairs.