CANSSI Support for Undergraduate Datathons

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Opportunities for undergraduates

CANSSI would like to encourage undergraduate participation in datathon competitions, and to this end has developed a streamlined application process for partial support of a datathon at any university that is an institutional member of CANSSI. Upon receipt of the complete application, CANSSI will offer up to $1000 for funding prizes, food, or necessary supplies. A template application is available on our web site.

One example of such a competition is the American Statistical Association’s “DataFest” competition each spring; universities in Canada are welcome to participate. An ASA DataFest involves teams of students working for a weekend on the analysis of a set of data provided by the ASA, and presenting their work at the end of the weekend. Prizes are typically awarded in three categories: overall, visualization, and presentation. Details can be found on the ASA website at https://www.amstat.org/education/datafest/index.cfm. The window for the ASA DataFest competition is typically from the beginning of March until the middle of May, and it is recommended that planning start at least eight weeks before that.

Other similar activities may be available through different sponsors, or a university or group of nearby universities may decide to create their own such competition. CANSSI will receive proposals for any such competition that is targeted at undergraduate students in statistics, actuarial science and data science. Submitted proposals must provide details on the dataset to be used for the datathon, and evidence that this data will be suitable for a weekend effort in analysis. While an ASA DataFest is weekend-long, one-day versions may also be supported.

An article by Nathan Taback and Alison Gibbs about a successful ASA DataFest held in 2016 at the University of Toronto appeared in Liaison, August 2016 issue, page 46. The Sports Analytic Group at Simon Fraser University combined a datathon with a one-day Symposium (https://www.vansash.com/). 

Proposals will be received on an ongoing basis, and we will reply with a decision within six weeks.

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