March 31 - April 2, 2017

What is DataFest?

DataFest is a nationally-coordinated undergraduate competition in which teams of two to five students work over a weekend to extract insight from a rich and complex data set. Previous years’ data sets have included crime data from the Los Angeles Police Department, dating data from eHarmony, energy use data from GridPoint, and sales data from Ticketmaster. This year’s data set will be revealed at the opening of the event on Friday evening. At the conclusion of the competition, each team will have 5 minutes to make a presentation to our panel of judges. In addition to a “Best in Show” award, we will give awards such as best visualization and best use of external data.

The mission of DataFest is to expose undergraduate students to challenging questions with immediate real-world significance that can be addressed through data analysis. The data will be more complex than typically seen in a classroom setting, and students will be given free reign to analyze it however they like. Each team will come up with a research question that is of interest to them, and conduct analyses to help answer this question. We hope that by collaborating with other students, faculty, and outside mentors on such an open-ended project, participants in DataFest will experience the power of data science in better understanding the world around us, realize its important role in our society, and leave with a thirst to acquire new data science skills.