Congratulations to the finalists of the inaugural Syngenta Crop Challenge! @Analytics2016

Crop Challenge Slide

After my team won the 2015 Edelman Award, we were awarded a $10,000 prize, which we then used to support a competition sponsored by the Analytics Society of INFORMS. Named the “Syngenta Crop Challenge” and launched in November 2015, innovative teams from around the world have been working to solve this challenge: Using soil property data, weather data and seed variety test data, participants are challenged to develop a model to predict what varieties farmers should plant next year to maximize yield. More than 130 teams spanning a diverse range of disciplines including operations research, data analytics, agriculture, advanced mathematics and more submitted their entries.

On Monday, I and an esteemed panel of judges will finally get to hear the six finalist presentations. I couldn’t be more excited and hopeful for the future of agriculture. The competition aims to address the problem of hunger challenges across the world by fueling innovation among experts in the application of advanced analytics in biochemistry and agriculture.

The finalists, whom we invite you to see present in the Gardenia room during @Analytics2016 from 9:10a-12:20p are:

  • Balancing weather risk and crop yield for soybean variety selection, authored by Bhupesh Shetty, Ling Tong, Samuel Burer
  • Soy variety selection to maximize yield and minimize risk based on neural network prediction and portfolio theory, authored by Yu Zhao, Jingsi Huang, Ming Qin
  • The selection of the best soybean varieties for hedging risk of weather uncertainties-a deep learning and heuristic optimization approach, authored by Mark Rees, Yidong Peng, Jaremy Babila, Mike Lyons, Lily Huang, Yinghan Song, Chun-Yang Wei, Susan Arnot
  • Soybean varieties portfolio optimisation based on yield prediction using weighted histograms, authored by Oskar Marko, Sanja Brdar, Marko Panic, Predrag Lugonja
  • Decision assist tool for seed variety selection to provide best yield in known soil and uncertain future weather conditions, authored by Nataraju Vusirikala, Mehul Bansal, Prathap Siva
  • Hierarchy modeling of soybean variety yield and decision making for future planting plan, authored by Xiaocheng Li, Hyauyang Zhong, David Lobell, Stefano Ermon

Serving on the Syngenta Crop Challenge Prize Committee are:

  • Committee Chair: Robin Lougee, Research Industry Lead, Consumer Products & Agriculture, IBM Research
  • William Beavis, GF Sprague Chair of Population and Quantitative Genetics, Iowa State University
  • Joseph Byrum, Head of soybean seeds product development, Syngenta
  • Arnie Greenland, Decision, Operations & Information Technologies, University of Maryland
  • Claudia Perlich, Chief Scientist, Dstillery (formerly Media6Degrees)
  • Alexander Platt, Center for Computational Genetics and Genomics, Temple University
  • Stein Wallace, Department of Business and Management Science, The Norwegian School of Economics
  • Jim Williams, Principal Consultant, Xpress Optimization at FICO

Good luck to all our finalists!

Joseph Byrum