HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — A group of data scientists from Group Michelin won Torqata Data and Analytics L.L.C.'s "Reinvent the Wheel" Hackathon Nov. 12.
The Hackathon competition brings students and professionals from around the world to solve a difficult data challenge for the automotive aftermarket.
This year, the problem focused on sustainability and minimizing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the recycling of millions of scrap tires collected in the U.S. every year.
The event — sponsored by American Tire Distributors (ATD), Google Cloud and Continental A.G., along with several other sponsors — attracted 21 teams comprising 100-plus students and professionals Nov. 11-12 at ATD's headquarters in Huntersville.
The teams had 24 hours to tackle two challenges: forecasting inbound scrap tire supply and optimizing how these scrap tires get to the recycler while minimizing GHG.
Team Bib, a group of Michelin data scientists, won first place, receiving $3,000 and tires for developing machine-learning forecast models and sophisticated methods of optimization, Torqata said.
The Huskies from Northeastern University were runners-up, earning $1,500, and the Database Avengers from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) finished third, earning $500.
After Team Bib made a surprise donation of its winnings to Team Huskies, a fourth award was created for Team 808 and Snowflake, which consisted of professional and student members from multiple companies, including Snowflake Inc., Bank of America and UNCC.
"We want to congratulate everyone who participated in the 'Reinvent the Wheel' Hackathon for their innovative solutions to optimize the logistics efficiency of tire recycling," Torqata CEO Tim Eisenmann said.
"This event demonstrated how some of the best young data scientists and engineers from across the country can help the tire industry and automotive aftermarket solve critical issues affecting our environment," he said.
"Approaches and solutions, such as the ones showcased this weekend, are required to help our industry join hands and move towards a more sustainable future."
The challenge required skills in coding (R/Python), data visualization, data science and basic programming knowledge.
After 24 hours of coding, mini-challenges and giveaways, each team presented their solution to a panel of judges.
This was the second Reinvent the Wheel Hackathon following an inaugural event in 2019.
"We continue to invest heavily in data science, and this event provides a unique way for students and professionals to demonstrate how their technical skills can promote sustainability in our business," ATD President and CEO Stuart Schuette said.
"We are excited that so many talented students chose to participate in this event, and we hope they consider a career in our industry."
Torqata, a data and analytics software company serving tire manufacturers, distributors and retailers, was incubated by ATD from 2017-19 and established as an independent company in 2020.