Syngenta: World’s Best Analytics Teams Compete for INFORMS Franz Edelman Award in Huntington Beach, CA

Syngenta: Good Growth through Advanced Analytics

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA, April 8, 2015 – The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®), the leading professional association in advanced analytics, will host six finalist organizations competing for the 2015 INFORMS Franz Edelman Award. The competition takes place on Monday, April 13 during the 2015 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa. The prize is the world’s most prestigious recognition for excellence in applying advanced analytics to benefit business and humanitarian outcomes. 

Syngenta is one of the six finalist organizations, with a submission titled, “Good Growth through Advanced Analytics.”

With current breeding methodologies, the rate of increase in crop production is not sufficient to meet today’s food needs. Syngenta is changing that by applying operations research (O.R.) methods to make better breeding decisions that reduce the time and cost required to develop crops with higher productivity. This data-based transformation is making a quantifiable contribution to Syngenta’s commitment to meeting the world’s growing food needs in an economically and environmentally sustainable way.

O.R. tools have been developed by Syngenta R&D since 2010, allowing progress toward meeting its objectives of: 1) enriching the pool of genetic resources with favorable traits; 2) reducing the time required to develop new varieties containing favorable traits; 3) building a process to efficiently transfer favorable traits among varieties; 4) improving data quality, prediction of progeny performance, and characterization of environments; and 5) making better decisions to positively impact the probability of success (POS), cost, and time of the variety development pipeline (‘pipeline’). Each of the four O.R. tools is supporting one or more of the three pipeline phases: variety design, variety development, and variety evaluation.

The trait introgression (TI) tool and the breeding project lead (BPL) tool use discrete-event simulation platforms to make processes within the pipeline more efficient. The project lead is using the TI tool to design a strategy for transferring favorable traits from one soybean variety to another and the BPL tool to design a strategy for developing varieties with higher productivity. With each tool, the project lead compares alternative TI and breeding strategies until a strategy is identified with a high POS and uses minimal amounts of cost and time.

Yield trial design (YTD) optimizer and data quality cart (DQC) tools are supporting decisions that impact the quality of variety selection and advancement toward commercialization. The project lead uses the DQC tool’s residual analysis and correction capabilities to identify and correct for systematic error in field trial data resulting in dramatic improvements in data quality and variety selection decisions. The YTD Optimizer uses probabilistic modeling, discrete event simulation, optimization and sensitivity analysis to enable the project lead to effectively allocate field trial resources such that variety selection accuracy improves and costs decrease.

The new analytical tools dramatically improve project lead training, decision-making, and planning, resulting in cost avoidance for soybean R&D of more than $287 million from 2012-2016 and substantially improving the probability of successfully delivering a portfolio value exceeding $1.5 billion. Syngenta recognizes the positive impact these tools have on soybean R&D and is initiating a multi-year effort to customize and launch similar tools across all major crops.

Syngenta crop R&D program operations are transformed and their products are more competitive as a result of using advanced analytics and O.R. methods.

This year’s finalists are:

  1. IBM for “Predictive Cloud Computing with Big Data: Professional Golf and Tennis Forecasting”
  2. Ingram Micro for “End-to-End Business Analytics and Optimization in Ingram Micro’s Two-Tier Distribution Business”
  3. LMI/Defense Logistics Agency for “Peak and Next Gen: Effective Inventory Control for Items with Infrequent or Frequent, Highly Variable Demand”
  4. Saudi Arabia Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs for “A Decision Support System for Hajj Crowd Management”
  5. Syngenta for “Good Growth through Advanced Analytics”
  6. U.S. Army and Sandia National Laboratories for “Maximizing the Army’s Future Contribution to Global Security Using the Capability Portfolio Analysis Tool (CPAT)”

Additional information about the INFORMS Franz Edelman Award and Competition can be found online at


INFORMS is the leading international association for professionals in analytics and operations research (O.R.). INFORMS advances research, and develops and promotes best practices in analytics and O.R. through collaboration, knowledge sharing, and professional development. INFORMS helps business, government, and other organization professionals make better decisions to drive value to their organizations and society. Our certification program (CAP®), highly cited publications, educational meetings and conferences, continuing education, industry and process-focused networking communities, competitions, and recognition provide professionals with the knowledge and connections they need to achieve ever greater value for their organizations. Further information about INFORMS, analytics, and operations research is at or @informs.


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