The European Commission has launched a new Horizon Prize on Big Data Technologies. EUR 2 million is available for improving electricity grid traffic forecasting in terms of scalability, accuracy, speed and use of computational resources.

Many issues impacting society such as climate change, overcrowded and polluting transportation systems, wasteful energy consumption, would improve with our ability to examine historical records and predict the evolution of these different developments in our society and our economy.

Access to information in a timely way could have a positive impact on the way we consume energy, the way we organise our transport systems and even the way we run our health and other public services. Predicting consumption patterns must be accurate, and need to be delivered in real-time which will allow for effective action such as the use of energy resources in an optimal fashion. Faster, more accurate and resource-efficient prediction methods will result in more efficient management of sectors of the economy. Indeed today, these predictions are not always accurate and lead to the wasteful consumption of energy resources.

The European Commission has launched today the Big Data Technologies Horizon Prize to address this issue. The prize is a cash reward that will go to the three top ranking contestants who will come up with software solutions that will be designed analyse extremely large collections of data.

Ready to compete? Here is what is expected!

The winning solutions will need to demonstrate the ability to analyse extremely large collections of structured geospatial temporal datasets, time recordings of weather conditions and other data with different parameters used in the operation of energy grid management.

The participants are expected to submit solutions in the form of fully functioning software applications using available datasets within the framework of a publicly specified algorithm. The software submissions must be fully functioning upon submission and must be run using specially developed test data set on a specially designed platform which will test each applicant. This ‘contest’ platform will measure the performance (accuracy, speed, resource consumption) of each submitted software. The contest platform will be used on two occasions: in an interactive mode which allows participants to test their software before submission and in a back-office mode where the working software submitted to the contest will be scored.

A simulator of the contest platform, the so called “starting kit”, will become available for the eligible registered participants by 31 January 2018. It will allow the participants to get familiar with the testing environment before the opening of the contest platform on 23 February 2018.

With regards to the data sets available for the contest, the participants will be granted access to training and validation data and will be allowed to use on their own IT equipment and on the starting kit simulation platform. At the contest platform, a different set of testing data, not accessible to the participants, will be used for testing and scoring the participants’ software.

The “Award criteria” are detailed in the Rules of Contest, published on the Participant Portal.

How to apply!

The contest has three phases: registration and trialling, testing of the software, and submission via the Participant Portal.

Registration and trialling: eligible participants need to register during the registration period. The registration period will run from the 21 December 2017 until 30 January 2018. After the closure of registrations, participants will be able to download a starting kit to try out their software in a small-scale system (which can be run with the participant’s own IT equipment) simulating the real contest system.

Testing of the software on the contest platform: the registered participants will have the possibility to upload their software into the contest (cloud) platform and run it against the test data from 23 February 2018 until 9 April 2018. Each participant will have up to three attempts to run their working software on the contest platform and to ensure it will conform to the requirements.

Submission: registered participants will have to submit their fully functioning software with a full description using the participant portal between 23 February 2018 and 9 April 2018.

The submissions will be evaluated by an independent jury. Please read the Rules of Contest in order to have all the details.

This EUR 2 million prize will be split in three awards: EUR 1.2 million will go to the winner(s), EUR 600,000 to the first and EUR 200,000 to the second runner-ups.

This prize is part of the Commission’s contribution to the Big Data Value Public Private Partnership (PPP) ¬†which aims to develop Europe’s data driven economy and the prospects offered by Big Data technologies.

Source: EC Digital Single Market