February 21, 2020 - Register online HERE

Limited lodging is available and can be reserved when registering before the deadline.

*Participants may also register for the competition in person at the event.

DATE: Friday-Saturday, February 28-29, 2020

WHAT IS A HACKATHON ? A Hackathon is an event, typically presented as a competition to solve a posed problem, where the participants work together in teams over a short period of time, typically 24 hours. According to Hackathons Anonymous, "Hackathons provide a venue for self-expression and creativity through technology. People with technical backgrounds come together, form teams around a problem or idea, and collaboratively code a unique solution from scratch."

The word "hackathon" is a portmanteau of the words "hack" and "marathon", where "hack" is used in the sense of exploratory programming, not its alternate meaning as a reference to computer crime. - Wikipedia

THE COMPETITION:  Saint Mary's College is hosting its 3rd Annual Data Science Hackathon, a competition for teams of college students (or recent graduates). Note that teams may not exceed 4 members. Cash* prizes will be awarded to the top teams of undergraduate students solving the data problem presented. This year the competition is centered around recommender systems. A recommender system is a model or algorithm that aims to predict an individual's rating or preference for some object. Using a portion of data collected about the preferences for a list of 200 movies and TV shows, competitors in the hackathon will work to create recommender systems that will then be tested for accuracy on the remaining portion of the data. A prime example of such a challenge is the Netflix Prize. This is a great opportunity to try solving data science problems while learning more about the field and the myriad opportunities for a data scientist.

*This event and cash prizes sponsored by a grant from the Lilly Endowment.


  • The competition will begin Friday, February 28, at 5pm, and end Saturday, February 29, at 6pm.
  • Prize amounts for undergraduate (or recent graduates) teams: 1st place - $2000, 2nd place - $1000, 3rd place - $500
  • Note that "recent graduates" includes individuals that received a baccalaureate degree within the past year and are not currently enrolled in a graduate program.
  • Teams consisting of graduate students may still compete, and are encouraged to, but are not elligible for the cash prizes.
  • Winners will be determined by accuracy of predictions made on a test data set.
  • Competition Rules & Code of Conduct

PROGRAM & TIMES (in Eastern Standard Time): 

 Friday, February 28  5:00-6:00pm  Registration, Carroll Auditorium

 Dinner & Competition Kick-off
with presentations from local businesses

 Saturday, February 29  2:00pm  Test Data Set Available
   4:00pm  Deadline for Solution Submission
   4:30-5:30pm  Closing Ceremony


QUESTIONS: Contact Dr. Kristin Kuter at (574) 284-4458 or