UW DataFest 2019 has concluded

On April 5th, the University of Washington Department of Statistics, in collaboration with the eScience Institute and the Center For Statistics and the Social Sciences hosted DataFest - a data analysis challenge sponsored by the American Statistical Association and hosted by 41 universities and colleges in the country. This inaugural event at UW was attended by 35 undergraduates in various majors ranging from statistics and computer science to dance and French. 

DataFest participants were introduced to the data challenge during the opening dinner on Friday at the WRF Data Science Studio. They immediately started working with their teams to frame research questions, an activity which extended into much of Saturday. Student teams were
assisted by "VIP" consultants - data professionals from industry/academia - who acted as mentors through much of the event. After two days of intense data wrangling, analysis and presentation design, teams were given five minutes to present their work to a panel of judges from industry. Prizes were given for Best in Show, Best Visualization, and Best Use of External Data.

UW DataFest was organized by UW faculty Ranjini Grove and Tyler McCormick with generous support and help from Serge Sverdlov.

UW DataFest 2019

A.S.A. DataFest 2019
April 5-7
Data Science Studio



This year UW, in collaboration with the American Statistical Association (ASA), is hosting DataFest at the Data Science Studio in the eScience Institute. The event will begin on Friday April 5 at 5 P.M. and end on Sunday April 7 at 3:30 P.M.

DataFest is a two day sprint where teams of undergraduates work together to answer real-world questions with complex, rich data. The dataset and scientific questions are kept secret until the beginning of the DataFest, but typically the data comes from a collaboration with a corporation or local agency. Past DataFests have included data from, Ticketmaster,, and the city of Los Angeles.

Along with being a fun opportunity to practice your data wrangling and analysis skills, DataFest is also an opportunity to interact with potential employers and other members of the local statistics/data science community. At the end of the DataFest, each team will present their work to a team of judges made up of experts from UW and local businesses. There will also be mentors on hand from local companies to give suggestions and advice.

DataFest was founded in UCLA in 2011. ASA DataFest is now sponsored by the American Statistical Association and hosted by as many as 55 institutions this year. A key feature of 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 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.

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.

What is ASA DataFest?

DataFest is a team competition. Teams of up to 4 undergraduate students have less than 48 hours to determine who can provide the best insight —and communicate that insight–gleaned from a large, complex dataset. The teams that impress the judges will win prizes. Everyone else will have a great experience, food, and fun.

Who can compete at the UW ASA Datafest?

Any undergraduate student at UW. All members of the team must be undergraduate students. Teams can have no more than 4 people. Space is limited to 40 students and priority will be given to STAT majors.

How do I register?

To register as a student, use the Student Participant Registration Form.


Announcing 2019 ASA DataFest, April 5-7 at the Data Science Studio in the eScience Institute

To join a registered team, complete the Student Participant Registration Form.


DataFest begins in the late afternoon on Friday. Check this site for the actual time you should arrive. You will need your own laptop(s) and software. We will provide the data on thumb drives (which you will be asked to return).

Bring a water bottle. Some meals and snacks are provided. DataFest begins Friday evening and ends Sunday afternoon Precise dates and times, including check-in times, will be posted closer to the date.

How will my team get the data?

The data will be distributed via USB drives on the opening day (Friday, April 5) and so at least one team member should be able to read the data. The data set may be as large as 2 GB, so make sure you have sufficient memory.


Your team must consist of 3-4 people. All team members must be undergraduates at the UW. Each team member must register. At the time of registration, you will be asked for your team name. The name must be spelled consistently by all team members. Team names must be of professional quality. In other words, don’t use terms or words that you wouldn't use in the workplace.

The number of participants is limited to 40 by the size of the facility. If we must prioritize, some preference will be given to teams that enroll first, but the time of enrollment will be based on the last member to register.

Once registration is closed, substitute team members will not be allowed.


Tim Hesterberg, Google

Isabella Velasquez, BMGF

Aadarsh Kannan, Amazon

Jon Callahan, Mazama Science

Julia Greissi, Microsoft

Qinqin Zhang, Facebook


Ekaterina Jardim, Amazon

Jim Harmon, Liberty Mutual

Sonia Jaffe, Microsoft

Christine Chai, Microsoft

UW Grad Student Mentors

Michael Pearce

Sarah Teichman

Bowen Xiao

Max Schneider

Sheridan Grant

Friday April 5: 5-7

  • 5:00 - Introduction to ASA DataFest/About the Data
  • 5:30 DINNER (catered by Bay Laurel)
  • Work till 7:15 in WRF Data Science Studio, 6th Floor Physics/Astronomy Tower.
Sat April 6: 9 -4 pm.
  • 9:00- Breakfast (bagels/coffee)
  • 12:00 - Lunch (sandwiches catered by Bay Laurel)
  • Teams work on data challenge
Sun Apr 7: 9- 3:30 pm
  • 9:00 - Breakfast (bagels/coffee)
  • 12:00 - Lunch (sandwiches catered by Bay Laurel)
  • Teams work until 2:00 pm.
  • 2-3: Presentation to judges
  • 3-3:30 - Awards ceremony


Questions? Contact Us.