Carnegie Mellon Qatar collaboration brings football analytics to Qatar
Partnership promotes learning and research in sports analytics
A collaboration between Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) and Stats Perform is providing new opportunities for the Education City community to explore the field of sports analytics. CMU-Q is a Qatar Foundation partner university.
Agustín Indaco is an assistant teaching professor of economics at CMU-Q, and a researcher in the field of sports analytics. “Data has become central to many different fields, including sports. So many questions and decisions about coaching and gameplay are now based on data, and students who enjoy both sports and analytics can build a career in this area.”
For years, CMU-Q has used sports datasets in data science coursework. “I find students are so much more engaged with analytics when they are using data they are passionate about,” said Indaco.
This led Indaco and Fuad Farooqi, area head of business administration at CMU-Q, to look for more opportunities in the field. They worked with Patrick Lucey, the chief scientist at Stats Perform and a former post-doctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh, to create a six-week course to introduce Education City students and alumni to the field. The non-credit course ran in spring 2022, with students and alumni from several partner universities participating.
Raggi al-Hammouri is a graduate of CMU-Q with a degree in computer science. Now working at Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), he was excited to take the course and learn more.
“Football is a passion of mine, and the course was an amazing opportunity to bring my love of football and computer science together.”
Al-Hammouri was inspired by the course to delve deeper into the field. In fall 2022, he joined Indaco’s research team that is analyzing different football datasets to find patterns and gain insights.
“I told Professor Agustín, I love this area so much, I could work 10 or 12 hours at a time and it doesn’t feel like work,” said al-Hammouri.
With the enthusiasm surrounding World Cup 2022, Indaco sees the interest in sports analytics growing within Qatar. “We will run the course again this spring, and we hope to see students from many different areas participating. Data touches everything in sports, so people in journalism, health care, policy, and engineering can deepen their understanding by learning about analytics.”