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Running RAMPs

What is a RAMP?

The RAMP is a versatile management and software tool for connecting data science to domain sciences, which is the main mission of the Paris-Saclay Center for Data Science. It grew organically out of our experience with data challenges, and evolved through the dozen iterations that we carried out in our research and training activities. The RAMP is developed as an in-house tool at the CDS, in collaboration with the Center for Scientific Management (CGS) at Ecole des Mines. It was originally designed as a collaborative prototyping tool that makes efficient use of the time of data scientist in solving the data analytics segment of high-impact domain science problems. We then realized that it is equally valuable for training novice data scientists, for networking, for communication, and as a social science observatory. It has been rapidly becoming a standard educational tool, used in three UPSaclay data science masters, but also in other programs in Paris and Lille. It has been used six times at Saclay, and in four hackatons outside Saclay (Paris School of Economics; French National Museum of Natural History; NCAR, Colorado; Epidemium, Paris). The RAMP is used in the following operational context. Similarly to a data challenge, the data provider arrives with a prediction problem and a corresponding data set. An experienced data scientist then cleans and curates the data and formalizes the problem. This process can take two weeks to six months, and results in a starting kit, typically an ipython notebook that introduces the domain science problem, describes the data, and shows a first untuned solution (benchmark). The problem is then set up using the RAMP software, and a RAMP event is organized with 30-50 data scientists and domain scientists. The RAMP event usually takes a single day to attract data scientists who do not wish to engage for a longer period of time learning the domain problem. We have been experimenting with other formats: data challenges usually take several months, and course projects can take several weeks. When the data science problem requires the mastering of a specific tool, the RAMP event can be preceded by a Training Sprint for explaining specific tools to the participants. Part of the Training Sprint can also be devoted to introducing the domain science problem, otherwise this introduction takes place at the beginning of the RAMP.


Balázs Kégl Alex Gramfort Akin Kazakçi Camille Marini Mehdi Cherti Yohann Sitruk


The RAMP site is open to a limited number of events, challenges, or course projects, organized outside the CDS. Contact us if you are interested.