Data Derby Minnesota

Data Derby Minnesota

Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence hosts the Data Derby Minnesota competition in the spring of each year.  This is 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 includes two challenge events:

  • A 6-week extended DATATHON and
  • A same-day DATAGON sprint (read more below).

Who can compete?

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)

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

10:00 to 5:00


DATATHON: 6 weeks to develop a comprehensive data story


  • Begins in March with student teams gaining access to Datathon challenge questions and datasets.
  • Teams have about 6 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 will involve 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 will be 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.

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

  • Student teams gain access to the 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.

Contact Janice Aanenson for information

Phone: 612-659-7226