Pushback to the Future: Predict Pushback Time at US Airports (Phase 2)

Welcome Phase 1 finalists to Phase 2 of the Predict Pushback Challenge! Now's your chance to explore translating your winning Phase 1 model into a decentralized federated learning model. #civic

jul 2023
13 joined

An image of an aircraft at the gate.

Congratulations and welcome to Phase 2!

You developed one of the best submissions for Phase 1 of the Pushback to the Future: Predict Pushback Time at US Airports challenge and are now invited to help NASA explore the use of federated learning to improve pushback predictions!

The goal of Phase 2 is to explore federated learning techniques that enable airlines to safely contribute private data towards a centralized model without sharing or pooling that data. Airlines collect a lot of information that is relevant to pushback time but valuable or sensitive, like the number of passengers that have checked in for a flight or the number of bags that have been loaded onto a plane. In Phase 2, we're asking you to translate your winning Phase 1 model into a model that can be trained in a federated manner.

To complete Phase 2:

The deadlines for each period are listed below.

Here are a few ways to get started:


Period Start date End date
Development June 1st July 17th
Evaluation July 19th July 31st

Development period

The first period of Phase 2 will be a development period during which you will focus on translating your Phase 1 model to a federated model. Visit the Data download page to download a training dataset partitioned into public and private data. You can read more about the data format in the Problem description. By no later than July 17th, upload your submission in the Development submission page. Development submissions need to include:

  • Federated training code, inference code, and model assets.
  • A write-up documenting how you approached federating your model.

Evaluation period

At the start of the evaluation period, we will release test features so you can generate predictions. The test data will cover the same time period and flights as the Phase 1 test period (subsetting to only the selected airlines) and will have the same format as the train features.

After the development period, participants will not be allowed to change their model training code or retrain their model. If any minor updates are needed to run your code, you will need to submit a detailed change log documenting each change and why it was necessary. By no later than July 31st, upload your evaluation submission (the upload page will be added during the evaluation period). Evaluation submissions need to include:

  • Test predictions matching the submission format, which will be released at the beginning of the evaluation period.
  • If any changes were needed to run your code, the updated code and detailed change log.


We've created a discussion forum for the finalists, the NASA team, and DrivenData to discuss Phase 2. You can use the forum to request help, share insights, confirm what is allowed, and generally discuss your experiments with federated learning.

The Phase 2 forum is private, and all finalists who already had a forum account have been added. To request access if you have not yet been added:

  1. Log in to the forum at https://community.drivendata.org/. Your forum user is linked to your DrivenData user, so sign in with your DrivenData username and password.
  2. Click ☰ to see available Groups, and select the "Pushback to the Future Phase 2 Participants" tile.
  3. Click "Request". You should be approved within a few days at most.

Office hours

NASA will host three optional office hours for open discussion about the challenge, data, federated learning, and whatever else is on your mind! Office hours are scheduled for:

  • Wed, June 21st 2:30 - 4 PM EST
  • Thu, July 13th 2:30 - 4 PM EST
  • Wed, July 26th 2:30 - 4 PM EST

We'll post the meeting links in the forum a few days prior to the event. You are encouraged to reach out to NASA on the forum and in office hours as you develop your solutions. They are looking forward to hearing what you find out!

This challenge is in collaboration with NASA

Header Image: "Pushback..." by Cory W. Watts is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0