The American Statistical Association (ASA) DataFest™ @ OSU is a collaborative competition where undergraduate students from around The Ohio State University gather to tackle a data analysis challenge that is likely beyond the scope of what they have encountered in the classroom. The event first began at UCLA in 2011 and has grown to dozens of schools across the country and abroad.
Students work over the course of a weekend in teams of 3-5 to analyze a data set that is revealed at the opening kickoff at the start of DataFest. Past examples of projects include analyzing on-field GPS tracking and physical fitness data provided by the Canadian National Women's Rugby team, examining job postings and economic trends from Indeed.com, predicting how web site visits can be converted into ticket sales at Ticketmaster.com, and exploring how customers move from search to selection to purchase on Expedia.com.
The goal of the event is to promote collaboration and networking within the data science community. As such, graduate students, faculty, and industry professionals who regularly analyze data are invited to participate in the event as mentors. While the undergraduate students do all of the work, the mentors are available during the event to assist students in formulating their approach to analyzing the data set.
At the end of the weekend-long data analysis challenge, each team gives a brief (5 minute) presentation of their findings to a panel of judges comprised of faculty and data analytics professionals from a variety of fields. Prizes are awarded in several categories (e.g., best visualization, best insight, best use of external data). The list of prize categories is announced at the beginning of each year's competition.