Mon, January 22, 2024


You need to sign in to add a comment

Sign In

Not an OR Society Member

Find out the benefits of being a member

Become a member

International Cherry Blossom Prediction Competition

International Cherry Blossom Prediction Competition

George Mason University (Virginia, USA) has announced the opening of the 2024 International Cherry Blossom Prediction Competition, which calls on analysts to predict when the cherry trees will bloom in 2024.

Entrants must predict accurate arboreal bloom for Washington (USA), Kyoto (Japan), Liestal-Weideli (Switzerland), Vancouver (Canada) and New York City (USA). Predictions must be backed up by both a compelling narrative and reproducible analysis, along with any data or code used.

The competition is a joint venture between the university’s Department of Statistics and Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, providing an interesting challenge for analysts interested in real-world outcomes. Its nine judges include statisticians, ecologists, biologists, researchers and climate change scientists.

The 2024 competition will open on 1 February 2024.

Complete entries will be eligible to win cash prizes across multiple categories, including best prediction and best narrative. The 2023 competition drew over eighty contestants from across four continents in 41 teams, all who built statistical models that produced competitively accurate and interpretable predictions. Five teams won awards in three categories: most accurate prediction, best model and best narrative. The team members shared over $5,000 USD in total prize money.

The ‘most accurate prediction’ award was within three days of the actual bloom date. To create their predictions, the winning team collected data on the amount of air pollution in each city (specifically fine particulate matter) and combined it with temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Visit George Mason University’s webpage for a recap of the 2023 competition, find out full details of the 2024 competition rules and access information on cherry trees, bloom dates and how to start modeling. In addition, the competition pages provide a template GitHub repository and a tutorial on The Law of the Flowering Plants.