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Syngenta and the Analytics Society of INFORMS announce prize committee for 2018 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics

  • Judging panel includes distinguished experts from academia, agriculture and technology sectors
  • Committee will evaluate entrants’ use of predictive modeling to improve corn seed selection and decision-making
  • Finalists will present before the judges at the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research in April 2018

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - November 28, 2017 – Syngenta and the Analytics Society of INFORMS have announced the judges comprising the prize committee for the 2018 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics.

Now in its third year, the Syngenta Crop Challenge is hosted by the Analytics Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The competition invites analytics and operations research students and professionals to use their skills to contribute to the future of agriculture and global food security.

Serving on the 2018 Syngenta Crop Challenge prize committee are:

  • Committee Chair: Nicolas Martin, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, INFORMS member
  • Robin Lougee, Research Industry Lead, IBM Research, INFORMS member
  • Gregory Doonan, Head of Novel Algorithm Advancement, Syngenta
  • Alex Platt, Assistant Research Professor, Temple University
  • Durai Sundaramoorthi, Senior Lecturer, Washington University in St. Louis, INFORMS member
  • Naira Hovakimyan, Professor, University of Illinois
  • Saurabh Bansal, Assistant Professor, Penn State University

“I am looking forward to working with the Syngenta Crop Challenge prize committee,” said Nicolas Martin, assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Crop Challenge prize committee chair and member of INFORMS. “I am confident they will provide invaluable contributions during the review of submissions, given their background in the industry and academia, and their experience in the agriculture, mathematics and analytics fields.”

Challenge participants receive a real-world dataset to use in developing a methodology to predict how well corn hybrids will perform in untested locations. These predictive models can help plant breeders decide which hybrids to advance and ultimately offer to growers.

“The Crop Challenge gives participants a chance to use their analytical skills to help breeders make better decisions in seed selection,” said Gregory Doonan, Crop Challenge judge and head of novel algorithm advancement, Syngenta. “We are looking forward to seeing the innovative contributions entrants make to ultimately help improve global food security.”

Entries will be judged based on the rigor and validity of the process used to determine which corn hybrids are selected. Finalists will be invited to present during the 2018 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research, where they will be evaluated on the quality and clarity of their presentations.

The deadline for entries is Jan. 11, 2018, and finalists will be announced on or around Mar. 1, 2018. The winner will be announced on April 17, 2018, at the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research, following finalist presentations. The winner will be awarded $5,000; the runner-up, $2,500; and the third-place entry, $1,000.

The Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics was established in 2015 and is funded by prize winnings awarded to the company when it received the 2015 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences. The challenge aligns with Syngenta’s commitment to make crops more efficient – one of the tenets of The Good Growth Plan, a global initiative to improve the sustainability of agriculture.

For more information about the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics, including eligibility criteria and deliverables, visit

About Syngenta
Syngenta is a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources. Through world class science and innovative crop solutions, our 28,000 people in over 90 countries are working to transform how crops are grown. We are committed to rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities. To learn more visit and Follow us on Twitter at and

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 outcomes.

The INFORMS Analytics Society, a subdivision 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.

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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.