DataFest (TM)

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DataFest (TM) came to Emory for the first time in 2014. 

DataFest (TM) is a data analysis competition where teams of up to five undergraduates have a weekend to attack a large and complex dataset. Your job is to represent your school by finding and communicating insights into these data. The teams that impress the judges will win prizes as well as glory. Everyone else will have a great experience, lots of food, and fun! 

DataFest (TM) originated at UCLA and spread to include Duke University, University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University. 

DataFest (TM) 2014 Information


Who can compete?

Any undergraduate at Emory University. All members of the team must be undergraduates. Teams can have no more than 5 people.

How do I register?

Each member of the team must register separately by emailing Ideally, you will have already chosen a team name, but this can be changed later. If you'd like to compete but don't have a team, send us an email at and we'll link you up with other students who are looking for teammates.

Seats are limited, so please register early. Registration is free. The deadline for registration is Friday, March 21st, 2014.

Do we have to stay the entire time?

No. You may come and go as you please. However, you are not allowed to work on the project except while you are on DataFest (TM) grounds, and at least 3 members of your team must attend the introduction.

What were past DataFest (TM) competitions at Duke University like?

They were both a great success! You can read about DataFest (TM) 2012 here, and DataFest (TM) 2013 here.  

What can I win?

Cash prizes, fame, glory, or some combination thereof... And you get a t-shirt!

Anything else I should know about DataFest? 

While DataFest (TM) is a competition, the main goal of the event is to promote collaboration. Here is a testimonial from a DataFest (TM) 2012 participant at Duke University:

"DataFest¿ 2012 was an awesome experience. To me, the best part was working in a team of friends that I usually hung out with, but had not had a chance to work together intensively on a project. We enjoyed analyzing the situations and solving problems together for our client. At the end of the day, we just got to know each other better. It was also fun to interact with other teams to explore other approaches while keeping in mind that we were in competition. The fact that we were given a huge amount of data really challenges us to come up with creative and practical approaches. Another important part was the presentation. Every team had to explain well to the judges their objectives and solutions. Our team won the Best Visualization award which is really awesome. Lastly, the food was fantastic."

DataFest (TM) is also a great opportunity to gain experience that employers are looking for. Having worked on a data analysis problem at this scale will certainly help make you a good candidate for any position that involves analysis and critical thinking, and it will provide a concrete example to demonstrate your experience during interviews.

What do I need to compete?

All you need is a laptop with tools for data analysis (there is no limitation on which software you use) and enthusiasm for data.

What are the rules of the competition?

The rules are very simple:

  • No more than five undergraduate members per team.
  • Team members can come and go as they please but all work has to be done on-site. A steady supply of food, beverage, and candy make it more inviting to stay. Last year while most students went home by 1am on Friday night, by the same time on Saturday night, teams were still going full-steam.
  • It's a competition, but a friendly one, so collaboration between teams is not only allowed but highly encouraged. Official DataFest¿ consultants (grad students, faculty, etc.) will also be around throughout the weekend to help with any questions you might have. However you can't have outside help.

Event details:

DataFest (TM) 2014 starts on Friday, April 4th, 2014 and will end on Sunday, April 6th, 2014. 

Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions. Simply email and we will answer you as soon as possible.

Other DataFests (TM) around the country:

In past years Duke, UNC, NCSU, and UCLA have held parallel competitions, and Duke's DataFest (TM) organizers aim to make it an annual event that includes as many schools as possible. If you are interested in holding DataFest (TM) at your institution, send an email to Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel at Duke University to get more information.

Stay tuned for details about DataFest (TM) 2015!