2018 Event Schedule and Guidelines

April 6th

  • 4:30-6:30pm - Recruitment reception; opportunity for student participants to network and learn about internship and career opportunities at the sponsoring corporations (724 Math Tower)

April 7th

  • 8:00am - Check-in and breakfast begins (E. 18th Ave Building lobby)
  • 9:00am - Opening kickoff and data set revealed (E. 18th Ave Building, Room 160)
  • 9:30am - At the conclusion of the opening event, DataFest moves to the 18th Ave. Library, lower level.  Competition will be on-going from this point until the submission deadline.  The 18th Ave. Library space will be accessible all night (BuckID required after 11:30pm).
  • 12:00pm - Lunch - Qdoba. All meals are served in the 18th Ave. Library, Room 090.
  • Throughout the day: project work continues. Snacks, fruit, and beverages available on-site.
  • 6:00pm - Dinner - City BBQ
  • 11:30pm - Midnight snack - Adriatico's and Insomnia Cookies
  • Work continues through the night...

April 8th

  • 7:00am - Breakfast - Buckeye Donuts and coffee
  • 10:00am - Brunch - Panera
  • 11:50am - Presentations must be uploaded before 12:00 noon!
  • 12:00pm - Project submission deadline & celebration (with cake!)
  • 1:00pm - Presentations and judging begin (Location TBA)
  • 4:00pm (Est) - Awards presented (E. 18th Ave Building, Room 160)

Information and Guidelines

Who can participate?

The competition is open to all undergraduate students currently enrolled at The Ohio State University during the semester the competition takes place.

DataFest Teams

This is a collaborative event, and team work is required. A team can be anywhere from 2-5 OSU undergraduate students. We suggest creating an interdisciplinary team with a variety of skills. Find friends who are skilled in different software like R, Tableau, SAS, SPSS, or any other software package that you feel will be helpful. We also encourage interdisciplinary educational backgrounds. For example, a team might consist of students studying Data Analytics, Business, Art, Economics, and Geographic Information Science.

You must have a team of at least two students before you will be able to register. If you need help finding a team, please plan to attend the Team Formation Nights on February 13 and 28. We will do our best to put individuals seeking teams in contact with one another.

Data Set

The American Statistical Association (ASA) has secured a large dataset from a well-known company. The details of the dataset and the company providing the data are kept secret until the Opening Kickoff.


The DataFest Opening Kickoff will be held Saturday morning, April 7th, in the E. 18th Ave Building, Room 160. Check-in begins at 8am, breakfast will be provided. The opening session, which includes the release of the data set and helpful suggestions, begins at 9am. Following the opening session, DataFest work will begin in the 18th Ave Library, lower level.  Work will conclude by noon on Sunday, with presentations and judging beginning at 1pm, Sunday, April 8th (location TBA).

What to bring?

Dress comfortably! It will be a long day/night/day.

We recommend that every member of each team bring a laptop, power cords, and a water bottle.

We recommend that you make sure beforehand that the software you will use throughout the weekend is properly installed and running on your computer.  You will be working with a large data set, so make sure that you have the space for it on your hard drive (plan for 2GB of data).

Meals, snacks and beverages will be provided.  We recommend bringing a water bottle so you can stay hydrated throughout the event. Feel free to bring anything additional you might want.

Bring your OSU BuckID.  You will need it to register at check-in, for access to the 18th Ave Library (11:30pm-7:30am), and to claim any prizes.

You might want to bring some favorite statistical or computational reference books if you have them, or bookmark some web pages that you routinely refer to.


You can come and go as you please, but all work must be completed in the 18th Ave Library. If you leave late at night, please walk with a friend or contact the Department of Public Safety for a ride: dps.osu.edu/safe-ride.

Should members of your team drop out at the last minute, you may choose to merge with another team that is also missing members.

We will hold a few random door prize drawings throughout the event. You need to be present at the time of the drawing to win. 

DataFest is sponsored by the American Statistical Association and is hosted by several universities across the country during the months of April and May.  As a hosting institution and as participants, we agree not to share the source of the data set or mention it in any publicity about the event (including social media) until after all DataFest competitions are complete. So, shhh!! We appreciate your help in keeping the name of the source of the data set a secret, so please do not mention the source when Tweeting, posting on Facebook, or in any other form of communication.


Mentors will be available throughout the event to help, and we encourage you to take advantage of their expertise.  Feel free to ask anything.  This is not an exam, but a collaborative competition. Do not expect the mentors to write code for you or do data management, etc. They are there to help point you in the right direction, but you're responsible for getting there on your own.

Judging/Presentation of Work

Your team will present their findings on Sunday.  All team members must be present, but not all team members need to actually speak (given time constraints). Presentations are limited to 4 minutes, with 1 minute for questions from the judges.  The time limit will be strictly enforced. You may use up to 3 content slides (with a fourth slide that includes your title, team name, and the names of your team members).

After the competition begins you will be emailed information on how to upload your final presentation.  To be considered for judging, your presentation must be uploaded by noon on Sunday. Slides can be created in any program you choose, but must be uploaded in PDF format.

Awards will be given in four categories:  Best Overall Analysis, Best Visualization, Best Use of Outside Data and Judges' Choice. A rubric for judging will be provided at the Opening Kickoff. Members of the winning teams will receive prizes and may need to fill out a document for tax purposes.


We encourage you to participate in the pre-event workshops, especially if you have not worked with large data sets before. Typical DataFest data sets contain several GBs of data. You will likely not be able to open the entire data set in Excel.

ASA Conduct Policy

As an event sponsored by the American Statistical Association, ASA DataFest @ Ohio State is committed to providing an atmosphere that encourages the free expression and exchange of ideas.  Consistent with this commitment, it is the policy of the ASA that all participants in ASA activities will enjoy a wecloming environment free from unlawlful discrimination, harassment and retaliation.  All participants in DataFest are expected to read and agree to comply with the ASA's full Meeting Conduct Policy.