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 has been encountered in the classroom. The event first began at UCLA in 2011 and has grown to dozens schools across the country and abroad.
Students work over the course of a weekend in teams of up to five to analyze a surprise data set. Past examples of projects include analyzing arrest data from the LAPD, examining advertising success for the car website Edmunds.com, predicting how web site visits can be converted to sales at Ticketmaster.com, and exploring dating data provided by eHarmony. Each year the data set is revealed at the opening kickoff of event at the start of ASA DataFest @ OSU.
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 overall analysis). The list of prize categories is announced at the beginning of each year's competition.