Crops News

Put analytical skills to test in 2018 Syngenta Crop Challenge


Do you excel in math and analytics and have an idea to solve a real-world crop production issue? Then you need to enter the Syngenta Crop Challege in Analytics. Syngenta and the Analytics Society of INFORMS invite analytics and operations research students and professionals to contribute to the future of agriculture by entering the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics.

Now in its third year, the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics underscores the cross-industry collaboration that is needed to help feed a growing population. A collaborative effort between Syngenta and the Analytics Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the 2018 competition provides entrants with a real-world data set and tasks them to develop a unique equation or methodology to address the research question: Based on historic observations and genetic composition, how will a corn hybrid perform in new locations with varying environmental conditions?

“If corn breeders could accurately predict the performance of each individual hybrid in untested environments, they could make better decisions on which hybrids to move forward and provide to growers,” said Greg Doonan, head of oilseeds genetic projects, Syngenta. “With this competition, we’re tasking participants to apply their analytical and mathematical modeling skills to help solve this question. It is a great opportunity for those outside the ag industry to contribute their expertise to help deliver on the 21st century food production challenge: growing more food to meet the needs of a growing population.”

Entries will be evaluated based on the rigor and validity of the process used to determine which corn hybrids are selected. The winner will receive $5,000; the runner-up, $2,500; and the third-place entry, $1,000. Entries must be submitted by Jan. 11, 2018, and finalists will be announced on or around Mar. 1, 2018. Finalists will be invited to present at the 2018 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research in Baltimore, Maryland, in April 2018. The winner will be announced on April 17, 2018.

“In the last two years, I have been a witness of the impact of the Syngenta Crop Challenge,” said Nicolas Martin, assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and committee chair of the Crop Challenge prize committee. “With hundreds of participants and submissions from all over the world from teams from backgrounds in engineering, computer sciences, and economics, they provide unparalleled insights to solve complex problems in agriculture.”

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