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The rchallenge R package provides a simple data science competition system using R Markdown and Dropbox with the following features:

Further documentation is available in the Reference manual.

Please report bugs, troubles or discussions on the Issues tracker. Any contribution to improve the package is welcome.


Install the R package from CRAN repositories


or install the latest development version from GitHub

# install.packages("devtools")

A recent version of pandoc (>= 1.12.3) is also required. See the pandoc installation instructions for details on installing pandoc for your platform.

Getting started

Install a new challenge in Dropbox/mychallenge:


or for a french version:

new_challenge(template = "fr")

You will obtain a ready-to-use challenge in the folder Dropbox/mychallenge containing:

The default challenge provided is a binary classification problem on the South German Credit data set.

You can easily customize the challenge in two ways:

Next steps

To complete the installation:

  1. Create and share subdirectories in submissions for each team:

    new_team("team_foo", "team_bar")
  2. Render the HTML page:


    Use the output_dir argument to change the output directory. Make sure the output HTML file is rendered, e.g. using GitHub Pages.

  3. Give the URL to your HTML file to the participants.

  4. Refresh the webpage by repeating step 2 on a regular basis. See below for automating this step.

From now on, a fully autonomous challenge system is set up requiring no further administration. With each update, the program automatically performs the following tasks using the functions available in our package:

Automating the updates


You can setup the following line to your crontab using crontab -e (mind the quotes):

0 * * * * Rscript -e 'rchallenge::publish("~/Dropbox/mychallenge/challenge.rmd")'

This will render a HTML webpage every hour. Use the output_dir argument to change the output directory.

If your challenge is hosted on a Github repository you can automate the push:

0 * * * * cd ~/Dropbox/mychallenge && Rscript -e 'rchallenge::publish()' && git commit -m "update html" index.html && git push

You might have to add the path to Rscript and pandoc at the beginning of your crontab:


Depending on your system or pandoc version you might also have to explicitly add the encoding option to the command:

0 * * * * Rscript -e 'rchallenge::publish("~/Dropbox/mychallenge/challenge.rmd", encoding = "utf8")'


You can use the Task Scheduler to create a new task with a Start a program action with the settings (mind the quotes):



Please contact me to add yours.

Copyright (C) 2014-2015 Adrien Todeschini.

Contributions from Robin Genuer.

The rchallenge package is licensed under the GPLv2 (https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html).

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