About 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.

ASA 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.

The Department of Statistics began hosting ASA DataFest™ at Penn State in 2015.

Who may participate?

ASA DataFest™ at Penn State University is open to all Undergraduate and Master’s Degree students at Penn State University, as well as students from surrounding colleges and universities.

There is no fee to participate.

Students compete in teams of 3 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. Final projects are limited to a maximum of 3 slides, so make your content count!


Each individual participating in ASA 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. Registration is limited to the first 300 people to register!

During the event

Mentors will be available throughout the weekend to help you as you work through the data. Meals and snacks will also be provided. Make sure to follow us on Twitter using @PSUdatafest to stay informed on the latest updates and 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 the 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 may 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.

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. Presentations are judged based on creativity, insight, visualization, and communication.


Looking for tools to sharpen your skills?
We have compiled a list of current resources you may find useful:
Statistics Related Resources