Press release

Syngenta and the Analytics Society of INFORMS announce the winner of the 2019 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics

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Syngenta and the Analytics Society of INFORMS are proud to recognize a
team from Germany as the winner of the 2019 Syngenta Crop Challenge in

The competition invited math and data analytics experts to use
real-world agriculture data to create predictive models that could
potentially help scientists accelerate the development of more resilient
seed hybrids that can perform in diverse environments.

The winning team, which included Bogdan Georgiev, Kostadin Cvejoski,
Cesar Ojeda, Jannis Schuecker and Anne-Katrin Mahlein, was awarded a
$5,000 prize for the submission, “Combining expert knowledge and neural
networks to model environmental stresses in agriculture.”

They represented the Fraunhofer Research Center for Machine Learning
within the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information
Systems (IAIS) in Germany. A recent interest in using machine learning
in agriculture spurred their interest in the Crop Challenge.

“Our team included computer scientists, data scientists and a
mathematician,” said Bogdan Georgiev. “We had no prior experience with
agriculture, so it was quite a thrill and a challenge to compete with
the other contestants and contribute to agricultural research.”

Hosted by the Analytics Society of the Institute for Operations Research
and the Management Sciences (INFORMS),
the leading international association for operations research and
analytics professionals, the competition concluded during the 2019
INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research in
Austin, Texas. The four finalist teams presented their submissions for
evaluation by the prize committee.

“All of the finalists brought the level of analytical thinking needed to
solve some of the tremendous complexities we face in agriculture,” said
Nicolas Martin, assistant professor at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, Crop Challenge prize committee chair and member of
INFORMS. “The team from the Fraunhofer Research Center for Machine
Learning demonstrated how its methodology can enhance agricultural
research in a tangible way.”

The runner-up submission, “Crop stress classification using deep
convolutional neural networks,” authored by Saeed Khaki and Zahra
Khalilzadeh from Iowa State University, U.S.A., received a $2,500 prize.

The third place entry, “Engineering meteorological features to select
stress tolerant hybrids in maize,” authored by Gordan Mimic, Sanja
Brdar, Milica Brkic, Marko Panic, Oskar Marko and Vladimir Crnojevic
from the BioSense Institute, Serbia, received a $1,000 prize.

“Cross-discipline collaboration can help us discover new ways to use
agriculture data to inform seed breeding research and development,” said
Gregory Doonan, head of novel algorithm advancement, Syngenta, and Crop
Challenge judge. “The winning team represented the forward-thinking
approach needed to improve crop productivity to meet the needs of a
growing population.”

The Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics was established in 2015 with
funding provided by prize winnings awarded to Syngenta in connection
with the company’s 2015 win of the Franz Edelman Award for Achievement
in Advanced Analytics, Operations Research and Management Science, the
world’s most prestigious award for achievement in the practice of
analytics and operations research.

The competition seeks collaboration across disciplines to discover new
ways of improving crop productivity, which aligns with the Syngenta
global commitment to accelerate innovation in a changing world.

For more information about the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics,
Join the conversation online – connect with Syngenta at

About Syngenta

Syngenta is one of the world’s leading agriculture companies. Our
ambition is to help safely feed the world while taking care of the
planet. We aim to improve the sustainability, quality and safety of
agriculture with world class science and innovative crop solutions. Our
technologies enable millions of farmers around the world to make better
use of limited agricultural resources. With 28,000 people in more than
90 countries we are working to transform how crops are grown. Through
partnerships, collaboration and The Good Growth Plan we are committed to
improving farm productivity, rescuing land from degradation, enhancing
biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities. To learn more visit
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With 12,500 members from nearly 90 countries, INFORMS is the largest
international association of operations research (O.R.) and analytics
professionals and students. INFORMS provides unique networking and
learning opportunities for individual professionals, and organizations
of all types and sizes, to better understand and use O.R. and analytics
tools and methods to transform strategic visions and achieve better

INFORMS Analytics Society, a community of INFORMS
, promotes the
integration of a wide range of analytical techniques and supports
activities that illuminate significant innovations and achievement in
the growing field of analytics.

Web Resources:
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Syngenta supports but is not a sponsor of this INFORMS challenge.
Entrants must read and agree to terms and conditions of the challenge,
found with the registration materials.