What is ASA Datafest @ UofT?

This year the University of Toronto will be hosting a DataFest.  DataFest is sponsored by the American Statistical Association (https://www.amstat.org/education/datafest/).  The event is like a hackathon, for undergraduate students, except the problem is a data analysis problem, rather than a programming problem.  Teams of students get a dataset on Friday afternoon and work on the problem until Sunday afternoon where they present their results.  After two days of intense data wrangling, analysis, and presentation design, each team is allowed a few minutes and no more than two slides to impress a panel of judges. Prizes are given for Best in Show, Best Visualization, and Best Use of External Data.

A key feature of ASA DataFest is that it brings together the data science community. Undergraduate students do the work, but they are assisted by roving consultants who are graduate students, faculty, and industry professionals. Many professionals find ASA DataFest to be a great recruiting opportunity–they get to watch talented undergraduate students work under pressure in a team and examine their thinking processes.