Select Page
Fair Housing: a Blueprint for Equity in Life, Work and Play

2022-2023 High School Big Data Challenge

Under the Patronage of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO






We call upon all students and teachers to use computational thinking skills, combined with math, science, geography and climate change knowledge to find solutions for the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 – “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”

As Canada and the World find its way out of the COVID pandemic and new ways for sustainable development, the need for fair and equitable housing has become increasingly apparent. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. projects the nation will need an additional 5 million housing units by 2030 to accommodate a growing population. Average Canadian house prices soared to $816,720 in March 2022, representing a 20% increase in a single year. 

Fair housing is far reaching, covering many subtopics including (but not limited to):

      • Determining the role of co-living and co-working arrangements in the future of housing
      • Increasing survivability of housing structures in the uptick in natural disasters as a result of climate change;
      • Analyzing the future of housing in urban centres, the prairies and the newly-thawed permafrost in the Arctic;
      • Determining the role of smart home and metaverse technologies in the modern home;
      • Lowering the cost of housing as Canada enters a potential economic recession.
      • Improving heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technologies to prevent the spread of airborne viruses, such as COVID-19 and to ensure high standards of living;
      • Ensuring accessibility for individuals with disabilities in new housing developments;
      • Creating safe and enjoyable spaces to play, unwind and socialize; and,
      • Designing beautiful and appreciable architecture for all, including reflections of Indigenous cultures.


Sign In First – Get It All 

Let’s Talk Science is sponsoring the participation fee of the first 250 teams. Following that, the participation fee is $45 per student.


This academic year we organize an Open Data inquiry and experiential learning program — High School Big Data Challenge (HSBDC) to engage secondary school and CEGEP students across the country and beyond to direct their computational thinking efforts towards development of ideas and solutions for UNESCO Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG 11) “Sustainable Cities and Communities”. Participants will use the National Research Council of Canada housing and climate change data, as well as any Open Data

Computational Thinking

Develop analytical and computational thinking by using computational techniques in the context of current, real-world challenges in clean energy.

Data Analysis

Learn data visualization to present student-found results from Big Data analytics.

Interdisciplinary Mindset

Engage in an interdisciplinary, problem space led by student-driven inquiry.


Scientific Communication

Practice scientific writing and publish your ideas in the peer-reviewed STEM Fellowship Journal, through the largest national scientific publishing group.



Network with academics, industry professionals, and other forward-thinking students.

Note: Prior knowledge of coding is NOT required to participate. Students from all backgrounds are welcome to participate

Through this challenge, students will:

  • Collect and Investigate Data on access to sustainable and clean energy and culture around it.
  • Analyze the role of various factors including gender, race, geographical region, and socioeconomic conditions on access and use of Clean energy.
  • Hypothesize and Formulate innovative solutions to improve access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • Present Findings through scientific and scholarly writing in the form of a research project report.

Teams of 2 to 5 students will be provided with datasets, workshops, learning resources, mentorship, and tools for data analysis to undertake exploratory analysis of fair and equitable housing. Data analysis is combined with scientific writing, insofar that the teams present their research findings in the form of scientific manuscripts, which are then evaluated by academics and industry professionals. All aspects of the BDC, including delivery of workshops, resources and mentorship be available online, making them accessible to all students regardless of their location or other circumstances. However, there may be opportunities to present findings at an in-person final event.

At the end of the program, the research abstracts of all teams are published in a conference proceedings in the peer-reviewed NRC Research Press STEM Fellowship Journal

The top teams are then invited to defend their findings in front of a panel of experts in competing for monetary and academic prizes at the culminating final event.

Sign In First – Get It All 

Let’s Talk Science is sponsoring the participation fee of the first 250 teams. Following that, the participation fee is $45 per student.


The High School Big Data Challenge awards high school students for their achievements in Big Data Inquiry and Computational Thinking. It encourages them to pursue their studies in analytics and computational science. Award recipients are selected based on demonstrated research, computational methods, and science communication. It is our intention to organize in-person finals this year if the public health situation remains favorable for Canada East (Toronto), and Canada West (Calgary). As our awards fund grows, monetary prizes now reach $15,000, as well as open access scholarly publishing awards worth $12,000.




Registration Window

September 1, 2022 – October 29, 2022

Students form teams of 2-5 and register them online.

Information Sessions

September 17, 2022 – October 8, 2022

Challenge Period

October 29, 2022 – January 15, 2023

During this time, students will:

Crowdsource resources and investigate analytics tools (SAS, Python, R, etc.), choosing one to learn and leverage. Educational resources and workshops will be provided covering various data science topics to help with this. 

Attend mentor sessions and ask questions to learn more about anything within the realm of data science, its applications, topic ideation and academic writing. 

Work on a chosen dataset for 3 months. Work together in a team setting, making use of mentors, teachers and the provided resources to analyze a dataset and propose solutions. 

Tell the story of the data discovery through a scientific report. Use Overleaf to prepare the project report, and submit it through the Google Classroom submission dropbox. 


Literature Review Submission Deadline

November 26, 2022

Students must submit a literature review, as a progress check, before the deadline (11:59 pm PT) for evaluation and feedback. 


Abstract Submission Deadline

December 10, 2022

Students must submit an abstract, as a progress check, before the deadline (11:59 pm PT) for evaluation and feedback. 


Project Submission Deadline

January 15, 2023

Students submit their project reports developed in Overleaf before the deadline (11:59 pm PT) for evaluation by a team of academics and industry experts.


Finalist Announcement

January 29, 2023

The finalists (top 20 teams) will be announced! Successful student teams will have the opportunity to present at Big Data Day. 


High School Big Data Day

The Big Data Day will occur in-person, providing finalist teams with the opportunity to present their findings to a panel of judges. 

February 11, 2023 @ 10:00 AM ET – Toronto – SciNet Space in the MARS Building

February 26, 2023 @ 10:00AM MT – Calgary – University of Calgary



The following events and workshops will be hosted live throughout the competition period at these updated dates:

Kickoff Event and Theme Information

October 30, 2022 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PT

Workshop 1: Expectations and Submission Perquisites*

November 5, 2022 @ 12:00 – 1:30 pm PT

Workshop 2: Project Management*
November 5, 2022 @ 5:00 – 6:00 pm PT

Workshop 3: Introduction to Statistics
November 12, 2022 @ 12:00 – 1:30 pm PT

Workshop 4: Basics of Data Science in Python
November 13, 2022 @ 11:00 am – 1:00 pm PT

Workshop 5: Ethical AI
Part A: November 19, 2022 @ 4:00-5:00 pm PT

Part B: November 20, 2022 @ 4:00-5:00 pm PT

Workshop 6: Blueprint to a Literature Review*
November 26, 2022 @ 12:00 – 1:30 pm PT

Workshop 7: Reference Management 
December 3, 2022 @ 12:00 – 1:30 pm PT 

Workshop 8: Starting a Manuscript*
December 3, 2022 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm PT

Workshop 9: Editing 101*
December 10, 2022 @ 12:00 – 1:00 pm PT

Workshop 10: The Introduction and Conclusion Sections *
December 10, 2022 @ 4:00 – 5:00 pm PT

Workshop 11: The Discussion Section*
December 11, 2022 @ 12:00 – 1:30 pm PT


Attendance is mandatory at Workshop 1. Your team must also attend at least 2 out of 4 of Workshops 8-11. Attending all other workshops is entirely optional. 


This year, we are offering many workshops in an online, e-learning format. Our participants are able to access the content at any time, and learn at their own pace, while getting help from experienced mentors. The following e-learning modules will be offered:

  • What is Data Science?
  • Data Privacy and GDPR
  • Setting up the Environment
  • Relational Databases in SQL
  • Concepts of Dashboarding and Data Visualization
  • Clustering
  • Classification and Logistic Regression
  • Fundamentals of Neural Networks
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Geospatial Analysis
  • Network Science


The Big Data Challenge (BDC) for high school students is an inquiry-driven experiential learning program that invites students from across the country to strengthen their problem-solving and critical thinking skills while learning the fundamentals of data science.


You do not need previous experience with programming. We welcome all students who are eager to put effort into learning and expanding their skillsets, as well as those who show any level of interest in data science or the challenge topic.


We encourage participants to start forming teams before the event. You may also register and participate on your own or request to be placed into a team after registration.


You do not need to have an idea before registering. Think about what interested you the most in the field of the provided topic. Reflect on your day-to-day; talk to your friends and professional network from academia and industry; explore emerging technologies and platforms; read the internet and research articles. In hackathons like these, many teams come up with their topics in the first few days of the challenge, rather than beforehand.


Yes, anyone who has graduated within 12 months is eligible to register for our Big Data Challenge, however, if you are enrolled as an Undergraduate, then we recommend you sign up for the Undergraduate Big Data Challenge.


Check out last year’s Big Data Challenge