37 Student teams participated in MUDAC for first time since COVID

The Midwest Undergraduate Data Analytics Competition, which featured 37 teams competing, was held on April 6 at Minnesota State. 

The competition was hosted by Data Resources for Eager and Analytical Minds, also known as DREAM. Carleton College and University of Minnesota won first place for undergraduate and graduate respectively.

Dr. Rajeev Bukralia, a faculty member in the computer science department and founder of DREAM, organized the event. On Saturday, students were gathered for the 24-hour, non-stop data analytics competition.

“The student teams were asked to solve a data challenge related to agriculture in Minnesota, specifically about synthetic fertilizers,” Bukralia said. 

The data sponsor for MUDAC 2024 was Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI),” Bukralia said.

MUDAC, first held in 2012 at Winona State University, was soon brought to MSU with the help of Bukralia. The event was held back in COVID from 2021-2023. Making this year’s event even more special.

“This year over 100 industry professionals from companies including United Health Group, Wells Fargo, Thomson Reuters, Target, Medtronic, Christensen Farms, Taylor Corp, and many other large and small companies served as judges,” Bukralia commented.

The mission of MUDAC is to provide students with an opportunity to learn data science and data analytics.

“MUDAC is considered one of the most rigorous hackathons because students are unaware of the challenge questions or data until they arrive on campus,” Bukralia added.

As for those interested in participating, Bukralia notes that any student can participate.

“Faculty advisors form student teams that include students from a variety of academic backgrounds. Most common majors are computer science, mathematics, statistics, data science, and business analytics,” Bukralia continued.

Saumya Gautam, president of DREAM, helped organize the competition. There were two rounds for the students to be judged. 

“In the first round we presented our findings in the form of a presentation to four to five different judging tables. Four to five teams were selected to present in front of the entire audience for the second round,” Gautam said.

According to Gautam, MUDAC gives students exposure to real-world problems. 

“Working in a team in limited time also gave us a feel of what it’s like working in a real work environment,” Gautam said. 

DREAM is a student organization recognized by MNSU. With over 300 student members, it is the largest student club on campus.

“DREAM is a great place to meet students with similar interests, make connections, network, and most importantly learn and grow in the field of technology,” Gautam said.

Header photo: (Nate Tilahun/The Reporter)

Write to Biruk Mengesha at

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