Advance IT Minnesota launches the 2017 Data Derby Minnesota (Saturday, April 8, 2017)

Advance IT Minnesota has launched the 2017 Data Derby Minnesota, an annual multi-disciplinary competition open to all Minnesota State institutions, that allows student teams to compete and present data-driven answers to defined problems and societal issues.

The competition will be held at Hennepin Technical College (Eden Prairie campus) on Saturday, April 8, 2017, and will comprise two challenge events:

  • The 3.5-week extended DATATHON and
  • The same-day DATAGON sprint (read more below).

Who will be competing?

Students (undergraduate and graduate) from all Minnesota colleges and universities enrolled in any major, and especially from information technology, computer science, management information systems, business/management, mathematics, and statistics-related programs.  Basically anyone with a passion for being a data detective!

Requisite Knowledge/Skills

The Data Derby challenge events provide opportunities to showcase your ability to address data challenges as you see fit.  Programming or SQL knowledge is helpful but not essential to winning in the Data Derby.  You may use any use any openly available tool or application including:

  • Spreadsheets
  • Statistical packages
  • Common programming language (such as Java, Python, and SQL)
  • Visualization tools (such as Tableau, and SAP) packages
  • Common Office Productivity Tools (such as Microsoft Office Suite)


Starting March 15, 2017

DATATHON: 3.5 weeks to develop a comprehensive data story


  • Begins March 15 with student teams gaining access to the 2017 Datathon challenge questions and datasets.
  • Teams have about 3.5 weeks to work on a comprehensive data story addressing all challenge questions.
  • Teams are permitted to use additional, freely accessible datasets of their choosing.
  • On the day of the Data Derby, your team will present your data story to industry experts and faculty members serving as judges.

What will the data be about?

The Datathon challenge this year will be about solving a real-world problem using provided data sets.  You will be asked to address questions about daily operations as well as solve strategic problems.  The datasets range from 50,000 to 300,000 records shared as downloadable csv files using

> Access to the Datathon challenge questions and instructions to download the data sets were emailed to registered participants within 1 business day of registration.  Contact Dr. Janice Aanenson at if you do not receive this in time.

Interested in serving as a judge? 

Data science and analytics professionals are invited to serve as judges and have first-hand access to top talent across Minnesota.  Educators may contribute use this as a professional development opportunity and contribute as judges (you may serve as a judge even if you are a team faculty advocate since you’d be recused from judging team (s) from your institution).

Volunteer by emailing Dr. Janice Aanenson at – traveling judges are offered free lodging.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

DATAGON: 3-hour, Same-Day Challenge on the morning of Data Derby


  • Student teams gain access to the 2017 Datagon same-day challenge on the morning of the Data Derby and are provided the datasets they may use.
  • Teams work in isolation for three hours to address the challenge and post their submissions to an online portal.
  • The team submissions are judged and winners announced at the end of the Data Derby.

Data Derby Minnesota AGENDA

8:00       Check-in/Breakfast
8:45       Welcome
9:00       Keynote
9:45       Datagon Challenge
12:30     Lunch & Keynote 2
1:30        Datathon Team Presentations
4:00       Career Presentation
4:45       Winners of Datagon and Datathon announced