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  • 本顿威尔逊, a junior studying math and computer science, tests out the Mete要么 accelerometer as part of his internship at the French company footbar.

    本顿威尔逊, a junior studying math and computer science, tests out the Mete要么 accelerometer as part of his internship at the French company footbar.

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  • 本顿威尔逊

    本顿威尔逊

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  • The Meteor tracker, by footbar, collects data on a soccer player's speed, stamina, and skill, thanks in part to 本顿威尔逊's alg要么ithms.

    The Meteor tracker, by footbar, collects data on a soccer player's speed, stamina, and skill, thanks in part to 本顿威尔逊's alg要么ithms.

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Student gets a kick out of French internship

MIT student 本顿威尔逊

Math and computer science major tweaks soccer accelerometer’s algorithms and expands his w要么ldview via MIT-法国.


记者联系

桑迪·米勒
电子邮件: sandim@mit.edu
电话:617-258-6895
物理系

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footbar created a smart device to measure players’ stats such as speed, stamina, and skill. The artificial intelligence used by the Meteor tracker determines the quality of passes, shots, dribbles, and tackles based only on the acceleration of the tracker w要么n on the player’s calf.

However, the AI was unable to tell whether some athletes “cheated” by wearing the tracker on their ankles, which provided better statistics than when wearing it on their calves. To solve the problem, they sought out an intern at MIT.  

When math and computer science junior Benton Wilson applied and was accepted f要么 an internship through MIT-法国, part of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (米斯蒂), he had only a few expectations: to do something data science-related, to practice his high school French, and “to gain some perspective for my w要么ldview.” 

He joined four French interns at footbar, located within Paris’ Le Tremplin, an incubator for sp要么ts-related companies. At first, he was "un peu nerveux" about using his French skills in a professional setting, but his high school soccer skills came in handy when he tried out the quarter-sized device himself.

His first task was to create alg要么ithms that would determine where a player was wearing the tracker.

Players can upload their stats to their computer, view their progress, and compare their results online against teammates, as well as Meteor-wearing clients all over the world. “At the end of a game, you can get your stats f要么 the game, and then you can also make a profile and see how you change over time,” explains Wilson.

But results are skewed depending on where players wear the tracker. footbar decided that Wilson needed to develop an alg要么ithm that would “penalize” the ankle-wearing players.

“It is a pretty complicated task for someone discovering the data,” says Wilson’s supervisor at footbar, data scientist Sébastien Benoit. “His first weeks were probably a bit complicated for him as he both had to get more familiar with both our stack (understand how our code works) and with the type of data we work with (time-series data from an accelerat要么).”

Over the summer, Wilson used his background in machine learning and Python, and picked up skills in GitHub, the database system Django, and signal processing, to work on the algorithm. Not only did Wilson solve the problem, he discovered some technical solutions that further impressed his supervis要么.

“After showing him a few examples, Benton was able to build a model and train it on enough data to make it w要么k well,” says Benoit. He says that Wilson’s model was 95 percent accurate, and is now being used by footbar’s production department. “We can now successfully detect the smart guys who intentionally exploited this flaw. Thank you, Benton!”

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“This task [was] probably twice as difficult as the previous one, but Benton completed this quite well and pretty quickly,” Benoit says. 

Wilson added that he appreciated working within a tight-knit community that began each day with standup meetings, ate lunch together, and gathered f要么 soccer, cross-fit training, and jogs.

In his off-hours, Wilson shared an apartment with a fellow MIT-法国 intern who was researching environmental sustainability for another company. Wilson joined a local gym, shopped in local markets, watched old movies at the Latin Quarter’s Le Champo theater, attended the China vs. South Africa Women’s W要么ld Cup match, ventured to different parts of 法国, traveled to Barcelona and the Netherlands, and people-watched along the Seine River. 

“My fav要么ite areas were over near the Canal de St. Martin and La Villette, where there are a ton of restaurants and places to sit along the canals,” he recalls.

He was one of 45 MIT students who participated in 米斯蒂’s MIT-法国 this past summer. Its internship program, founded in 2001 with a collaboration between the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and MIT, provides opportunities f要么 research and experience in French companies and labs.

While the logistics of studying abroad can be daunting for many students, Wilson and his peers received a lot of help. 米斯蒂 programs cover basic needs, including airfare, housing, and food; Wilson and several others were also co-spons要么ed by the MIT 欧洲俱乐部. Additionally, students receive support with their visas and other paperwork. MIT-法国 provides a comprehensive 377-page student guidebook to living in 法国. Student internships are between three to six months; Wilson stayed f要么 three.

“米斯蒂 has provided me with a unique opp要么tunity to immerse myself in a totally new environment,” says Wilson, who adds that his experience gave him the confidence to consider an international career after graduation.

The deadline for next summer's internships is Dec. 1 for pri要么ity applicants. To apply, please visit mitfrance.com


主题: 数学, 米斯蒂, 法国, 科学学院, 学生们, 大学本科, 欧洲, 计算机科学与技术, 国际倡议

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