What is the ASA Datafest™?

The American Statistical Association (ASA) DataFest™ is a celebration of data in which student teams work around the clock to find and share meaning in a large, rich, and complex dataset.

DataFest was founded at UCLA in 2011 when 30 students gathered for 48 intense hours to help fight crime through an analysis of every arrest record of the last 5 years as provided by Lt. Thomas Zak of the Los Angeles Police Department. ASA DataFest is now sponsored by the American Statistical Association and is hosted by some of the most prestigious colleges and universities around the world.

Who may participate?

ASA Datafest™ at Penn State University is open to all undergraduate students and Master’s students at Penn State University, main campus or branch campuses.

There is no fee to participate.

Students compete in teams of 2 to 5. You may form your own team prior to the event, or you may ask to be placed on a team. We encourage you to form teams of individuals from different disciplines because you will benefit from having team members of diverse backgrounds and skills.


Registration will open on February 1st!
Each individual participating in Datafest must submit a registration. If you form your own team, each member of your team must register separately and include the team name on the form. If you have not formed a team, you will have the chance on the registration form to request placement onto a team.

Mentors will be available throughout the weekend to help you as you work through the problem. Meals and snacks are provided, and following us using #datafestPSU for the chance to win prizes!

Note that you do NOT need to be present the entire weekend to participate; you may come and go as you please, but we ask that you be there for event kick-off on Friday and for the presentations and award ceremony on Sunday.

All events will take place on University Park Campus.


  • You can come and go as you please, but all work must be completed on the premises.
  • Before downloading the dataset you must sign the Non-Disclosure Agreement by agreeing to the terms of use and entering your name and email address. At the end of DataFest, delete all data from thumb drives, hard drives, etc. The data are sensitive.
  • Should members of your team drop out at the last minute, you might be merged with another team who is also missing members.
  • At all times between 8:00 am – 8:00 pm, there will be a friendly Consultant present. These are faculty or grad students. Feel free to ask anything. This is not an exam, but a collaboratory competition. Do not expect the Consultants 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. Schedule of Consultants will be made available at the beginning of the event.

Judging and Prizes

Each team must present a short 3-minute presentation summarizing their findings to a panel of judges comprised of faculty and professionals from a variety of fields. Prizes are TBD. Presentations are judged based on creativity, insight, visualization, and communication.


Looking for tools to sharpend your skills?
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