IBM announced this fall that the capabilities of its supercomputer Watson will be applied in a new field – agriculture. The Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture will use a combination of AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and predictive analytics to help the ag industry harness big data to help in decision-making.
Data has always been available in agriculture, but putting it to good use has been a challenge. Innovations like IBM’s new platform can help growers make informed decisions that can improve crop performance and increase yield.
At Syngenta, we are increasingly using data from the field to help our researchers make better decisions in the lab. Data-driven advances in plant breeding can help us develop better seed products that require fewer resources and are adaptable to more diverse environments.
We know that cross-collaboration can turn into great discoveries, so we’ve engaged the operations research and analytics community with the Crop Challenge in Analytics, sponsored by the INFORMS Analytics Society.
Each year, breeders develop experimental corn hybrids that can maintain high yield across a wide range of environments. Identifying the best hybrids has largely been by trial and error, with breeders testing their experimental hybrids in a diverse set of locations and measuring performance to select the highest yielding hybrids. If breeders had accurate models that could predict performance across a range of environmental scenarios, they could develop hybrids for regions that are less hospitable for corn, giving them the potential to grow crops where they couldn’t before.
We’re looking for experts in the OR and data analytics fields to tackle this challenge and help us find new ways to improve crop productivity. If you’re ready to put your skills to the test and help contribute to the future of ag and global food security, register for the Crop Challenge in Analytics here: www.ideaconnection.com/syngenta-crop-challenge.
Submissions will be accepted until Jan. 18, 2019. Finalists will have the opportunity to present their entries during the 2019 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research in April. Cash prizes totaling $8,500 will be awarded to three finalists.
If you have questions about the Crop Challenge or would like to learn more, please join my information session Monday, Nov. 5, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in 211B, West Building.