APU Research Group Emerges as Winner at Data Mining at Mining Cup 2023 - Showcasing Sustainable Solutions for E-Commerce



A team of academics with a student from the Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) was selected as one of the winners of the Data Mining Cup 2023, alongside two universities from Germany. The APU team was the only research group from Malaysia and Asia to participate in this international competition.

APU research group shares a light moment with the winners and jury of Data Mining Cup 2023 at its workshop in Old Smithy's Dizzle in Berlin.


Out of the 69 teams from 17 countries that took part in the competition, APU emerged in the Top 3, together with the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) and the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (Frankfurt UAS).


The winning research group consisted of Senior Lecturer Mr. Mafas Raheem, and Associate Professor Dr. Nirase Fathima Abubacker, both academics from the School of Computing (SoC), as well as Ms. Devina Wiyani, a student from the BSc (Hons) in Computer Science specialising in Data Analytics.

Upon winning Data Mining Cup 2023, the APU research group with Associate Professor Dr. Nirase Fathima Abubacker (left) and Mr. Mafas Raheem, both senior lecturers of the School of Computing, presented their project titled “Returns Reduction in E-commerce” at a workshop held in Berlin, Germany.

As winners, they were sponsored by the organiser, GK Artificial Intelligence for Retail AG, Germany, to present their data mining project focusing on sustainability at the Data Mining Cup workshop held on June 22nd in Berlin.

APU’s School of Computing Associate Professor Dr. Nirase Fathima Abubacker (right) explained their data mining project focusing on sustainability at the Data Mining Cup workshop. Devina Wiyani, APU’s computer science student who specialises in Data Analytics by her side.

The annually held Data Mining Cup (DMC for short) competition aims to enthuse university academics and students in intelligent data analysis (data mining) and to challenge them to find the best solution while competing with others. After holding for more than 20 years, the organiser made it more interactive with a focus on networking this year by highlighting several projects from the winners in a joint workshop.


During the workshop, the trio presented their project titled Returns Reduction in E-commerce, which aimed to improve customer satisfaction and minimise returns by classifying and analysing product reviews. Their presentation garnered positive feedback from the audience. 


At the beginning of the competition, participants had six weeks to submit their projects. APU's representative developed a project targeting e-commerce sellers facing challenges with high product return rates, which can negatively impact sales and sustainability.


To reduce returns and improve customer satisfaction, thereby fostering increased sales and a more sustainable e-commerce ecosystem, the team utilised Natural Language Processing (NLP) to identify common themes and issues related to customer satisfaction.

"The project also provided insights into customer review sentiment, enabling sellers to quickly identify areas of concern and take action to improve their products and services," said Mafas Raheem, who has mentored students to top awards in similar competitions over the past four years.

The winners were announced by the organiser on May 26th, followed by the physical presentation. "It was a great honour for us to be invited to this presentation. It took place at Old Smithy's Dizzle in Berlin, where the jury and other winners were presented to listen to us," said Mafas.


"We received positive feedback on our project idea, as it addresses a contemporary issue in e-commerce platforms. We were also commended for the techniques we proposed during our presentation. We are delighted to contribute to APU's commitment to fostering a research culture at our university," he added.

During the Data Mining 2023 workshop, the top-3 winners from APU, Anhalt University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), and the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (Frankfurt UAS), gathered at Old Smithy's Dizzle, a 1920s heritage building in the heart of Berlin-Friedrichshain. In this photo, APU’s researcher Associate Professor Dr. Nirase Fathima Abubacker is presenting her view.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nirase Fathima Abubacker also expressed her enthusiasm, stating, "The opportunity I had in Berlin was amazing. We were able to present a winning project at an international stage and bring recognition to APU."

As an experienced academician with expertise in Data Science and Data Mining, coupled with experiences as a visiting professor at the United Arab Emirates University, UAE, and an Associate Professor at Dublin City University at Princess Noura University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Fathima always incorporates her research findings into her teaching and delivery practices with her students.

Devina Wiyani, in her final year of undergraduate studies, expressed her gratitude, saying, "I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to Berlin and present our ideas and projects. This experience has provided invaluable practical exposure to developing AI and data implementations in the retail industry, aligning perfectly with my career aspirations upon graduation."

Furthermore, listening to the ideas and insights shared by other teams has been truly inspiring for Devina, as it has sparked additional ideas for personal projects that will further enhance her skill set.


"I believe these experiences will significantly enrich my portfolio, serving as proof and demonstration of my abilities to future employers," shared Devina, highlighting APU's track record of 100% employability.