The competition challenges participants to develop a model that can be used to analyze large amounts of seed data more effectively, ultimately leading to improvements in the world’s ability to grow more food in the face of changing environments – without using more resources. The premise of the competition underscores Syngenta’s commitment to make crops more efficient – an important tenet of The Good Growth Plan, Syngenta’s global initiative to improve the sustainability of agriculture.
Entrants will be provided datasets that include seed genetic information as well as soil, weather and climate data. Entries will be evaluated based on the rigor and validity of the process used to determine which variety or varieties are selected for planting and should include a documented methodology. The winner will receive $7,500; the runner-up, $5,000; and the third-place entry, $2,500. Entries must be submitted by June 1, 2017, and finalists will be announced July 14, 2017. Contestants must be 18 years or older to participate.
The 2017 Syngenta AI Challenge is the first of two collaborations between Syngenta and the AI for Good Foundation to bring artificial intelligence tools such as machine learning and data modeling to the agriculture industry.
“We see ourselves as a R&D company first and foremost. We know the key to success is taking the long view, a long-term commitment to innovation, and we believe Artificial Intelligence is one of the few tools that can address the complexity of seed breeding,” Byrum said.
“If Artificial Intelligence is going to change the world, it had better help us solve some of our most pressing problems,” said James Hodson, co-founder and CEO of the AI for Good Foundation. “Few things are more pressing than ensuring we can feed a growing world population sustainably.”
Competition information sessions at several major universities are scheduled to take place from February through June:
- Federal University of São Carlos: February 13
- University of São Paulo: February 13
- University of Chicago
- Jožef Stefan Institute: February 10
- New York University
- Carnegie Mellon University: February 13
To enter the challenge, visit ideaconnection.com/Syngenta-AI-Challenge/. For challenge rules, visit ideaconnection.com/Syngenta-AI-Challenge/rules.php.
To learn more about the role data science is playing in agriculture, read Feeding the World – With Math by Joseph Byrum.