Please check back frequently for FAQ updates.

  1. How do I submit my solution?
    Submissions must be in MS-Word or LaTeX format using the appropriate submission template. You can download the submission template here (.zip).
    Once your solution is completed, you can submit it on the submission page in the participants area.
  2. Can several people enter as a team?
    Yes, a team may participate. The only requirement is that each person on the team must register and click the "Download data" link in the participant's dashboard to sign the NDA. Please make note of all the team members on your submission.
  3. I am overseas from the United States. Since the event will be held in the USA, will I be able to participate?
    Yes you are eligible to compete in the contest. The event will be held in the United States, however if you are selected as a finalist you will have the option to present via videoconference.
  4. Am I allowed to publish my entry in a journal?
    Technically, the work may be published, however the data may not be published or publicized in any way, and is protected by the non-disclosure agreement that is signed when you download it.
  5. May I use the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics data for educational purposes?
    The data may only be used for the purposes of the contest, so no it may not be used for educational or any other purposes.
  6. I work for a large agricultural company, can I compete?
    Employees or people who are associated with large agricultural companies are not eligible to compete. Please contact us if you have any questions about whether or not you are allowed to participate.

Q&A Webinar #1

Data Questions

Q: Are you restricted to the data provided or can you use other sources, like local weather data, to build up the model?
A: You can use any publically available data set. However, the data (including source) must be referenced in the final report.

Q: Is this purely a predictive metrics or analytics or we can raise new idea with the data you have provided?
A: The challenge is to define a new metric to define heat and drought stresses as well as classify hybrids based on your metric.

Q: Should the solution be in GUI or web-based?
A: The solution is to be a final report submitted before the deadline.

Q: What is the point?
A: Participants should model environmental variables to determine metrics representing heat or drought stress impacting (average) yield. Then, using those metrics, determine which hybrids are most and least affected by each type of stress by looking at the individual hybrids' yield.

Q: Can we use mixed linear models for the data?
A: Any modeling method is available for use.

Q: Is pedigree information available?
A: No, we are not including pedigree information. Each hybrid should be treated as independent genetically for the purposes of this challenge.

Q: How much work has Syngenta already done with data analytics with this data set?
A: We have performed internal analysis where we have classified our corn hybrids based on stresses.

Q: Does the data set include any information around pesticides? Fertilizers? Or other chemicals?
A: No, none of this data is included. However, since all of the trials are internal Syngenta trials, the crop management details mentioned should be consistent.

Q: Are there any standard definition for Heat Stress, Drought Stress, etc. for corn?
A: A similar study that can be used for comparison is referenced in the competition description.

Q: Data with dry and irrigated is not balanced, where data with dry is more. How do I address this issue?
A: How to handle the data is left to the participant. We do not want to influence any analysis performed.

Q: Is that mandatory to use all the variables in the model?
A: There is no mandatory requirement for analysis. The participant is allowed to build models however they see fit.

Q: Can I use any other set of data for heat and drought from India?
A: The challenge is set to focus on North America data.

Q: Can you please describe in detail about stress metrics?
A: The referenced research paper in the challenge description provides a similar analysis on stress metrics.

Q: Are there any data related to weeds and pests in general for each environment? Because I think these variables can play a big role in each environment and affect the yield potential; and maybe this should be considered in the model to have better precision.
A: There is not any data included for weeds or pests. You are welcome to look for any publicly available data.

Q: Is there any restriction on the analytics package that can be used for this challenge?
A: There are no restrictions.

Submission Questions

Q: Do we need to submit results both for objective #1 and #2 or one of them?
A: Both objectives need to be answered for full consideration.

Q: After the first submission, if we decide to submit a better one, will the first one be discarded automatically?
A: One submission is preferred, however, in the event of multiple submissions, we will review the most recent one.

Q: Will there be any communication channel open during the competition for participants to ask questions as they work on the challenge?
A: Using the contact us feature on the website, you can submit your questions and we will do our best to respond. If a question comes up repeatedly, an answer may be posted to the FAQ section as well.

Team Questions

Q: Should all team members be registered?
A: Each member of the team should register for the challenge. There should be one submission for each team, with each team member's name on the submission.

Q: Are there any team size restrictions for this competition?
A: There is no limit.

Q: Will prizes be awarded individually or to the whole teams?
A: The prize money will be associated to the entry. If the entry is by a team of two or more members, the members must determine how to separate the prize money.

Q: I can’t work alone, and I don’t have a team. Can I still participate?
A: Try to find someone local (in your town or university) that might also be interested in the problem with whom you could collaborate. Also, if you do some work but are unable to fully complete your solution, we would still be interested in seeing your progress.

Q: Is there any flexibility on the due date?
A: The deadline is firm. This is needed to ensure we meet the time requirements of the INFORMS conference in April.

Q: I have noticed in certain environments that plant date is after harvest date or there are dates that don't fit the typical pattern of planting in April/May/June, and harvesting in September/October/November. Are these dates correct?
A: No, for a few environments (at least Env_5, Env_1037, Env_1043, Env_1418), there were incorrect dates in the data that were not fixed prior to publishing. For many of these environments, using the year of the trial and the dates provided, an educated guess can be made on what the correct date should be. For others, it is not so simple and the rows may need to be discarded.