On the warmest February day on record in Cambridge, about 60 students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology opt to stay inside a dimly lit lobby, crunching data and churning out pages of analysis, rather than enjoy the sunny, summer-like Friday afternoon.
No, it isn’t mid-term time. The students — handpicked from 400 applicants — are competing in a datathon hosted by the $26 billion hedge fund Citadel. Ken Griffin’s firm is upping the ante in the industry’s chase for data scientists and engineers, hosting 18 competitions at universities across the U.S., Britain and Ireland this year. The prize in the final data championship: $100,000.