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Research Paper Writing
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You are a data scientist in the data research team at XYZ Limited.

INSTRUCTIONS TO CANDIDATES
ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS

Question 1: Role-play [10 marks]

A. Background:

You are a data scientist in the data research team at XYZ Limited.

The flagship product of XYZ is a data platform providing real-time and historical financial data of cryptocurrencies, e.g., bitcoin. There are two kinds of users of the data platform: (1) paid subscribers: who can access any real-time data and all historical data of 1,000 cryptocurrencies; and (2) free users: who can only access data of the past 7 days for 10 cryptocurrencies and cannot access real-time data of the recent hour.

 

At the moment, there are 1,000 paid subscribers and 10,000 registered free users. The maximum number of concurrent users of the data platform is 500.

 

B. Current situation:

 

XYZ’s current database system has been MySQL (on a single server machine) since the company was founded in Sep 2012. Recently, the CEO is discussing a partnership with ABC Limited, which is a financial consulting firm with a large customer base. To facilitate the partnership, ABC requires XYZ to provide social sentiment data – analyzing whether people on social networks are bullish or bearish on each cryptocurrency.

 

If the partnership is successful, XYZ’s platform will also be used by ABC’s customers. That would mean the number of concurrent users will increase to 10,000.

 

ABC also commented that MySQL is outdated technology and should be replaced. The CEO is not from a technical background and is not able to reply to ABC. Thus, the CEO requested the data research team to submit a proposal to review and revamp the existing data management system if appropriate. The proposal should of course address the need for the coming social sentiment feature.

 

C. Your task:

 

The head of the data research team has appointed you to study the technical part of the proposal. Other aspects, like budget and schedule, will be handled by your colleagues. Your head does not have a preferred solution. She will adopt your idea as long as it makes sense to her. Write the technical part of the proposal that includes at least the following parts:

 

1. Your proposed data management solution

 

a. How the existing data platform can be migrated to use your proposed solution

 

b. How the new feature of social network sentiment is supported by your proposed solution

 

2. Technical justifications for using your proposed system

 

a. Make sure you have also addressed all the concerns / comments from your colleagues (See Section D)

 

3. Good alternative approaches that you have considered

 

4. Reasons why the alternatives are not used

 

Note:

1. You should propose only ONE solution. Your solution should be specific, e.g., don’t say you use a relational database management system, but give the actual system name in this case, e.g., MySQL.

2. Your solution should include implementation information like what data to store and where data are stored etc.

3. The primary reader of the proposal is your team head who is very technical. Make sure your justifications are technically sound and clear.

4. Your proposal may be later read by your CEO or other parties who are not technical. Make sure your content can be understood by a layman.

5. This is a formal proposal. Use a proper format for your proposal.

 

D. Information and views from your colleagues:

 

Your colleagues have given you more information about the current situation and their views for your reference. Note that their opinions may not be the best. Please use your own judgement to design your solution.

 

1. CEO

 

ABC wants to have sentiment data updated every hour. Similar to our existing data platform, historical sentiment data should be provided.

 

2. CTO

 

I have a concern about the risk of migration. If the current system is working well now, we should try to make use of the current system as much as possible.

 

3. Head of IT support

 

The current server (one machine) can only handle at most 1,000 concurrent users. You need to think about how to handle 10,000 concurrent users in the future.

 

4. Head of Sales

 

Some customers ask for extending the functions of our current platform. For example, adding more data attributes like a 5-day moving average. Adding these attributes will definitely increase the competitiveness of our platform.

 

5. Head of Data Research

 

I suggest we only work on the text part of messages on social networks and only in English. We ignore images and videos. Even if this is the case, we are talking about around 50GB of raw data per day. There are at least 5 years of social network data available. We can always download historical data from social networks at any time. However, the download speed is slow, around 50GB per hour.

 

6. Data scientist for NLP modelling

 

The text on social networks is often non-standard English. There are many typos too. I don’t know if the NLP model will work well.

 

E. Database schema and sample data

 

The current data storage in MySQL has two tables. One table keeps real-time data. The other table keeps historical data. As our platform only provides hourly versions or daily versions for historical data, the current data storage is around 200GB.

 

Table 1: Realtime

 

Schema: (symbol: varchar(20), open: float, high: float, low: float, close: float, volume: float, quoteAssestVolume: float, numOfTrades: int, takerBaseVolume: float, takerQuoteVolume: float)

 

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