Random Walk of the Penguins Hosted By DrivenData

5 days left
$16,000.00

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Penguins are among the most charismatic animals in the world and have captured the imaginations of news-makers, scientists, film producers, and the general public. Beyond their general intrinsic value, they are considered important ecosystem indicators. In other words, monitoring these beautiful species can tell us a lot about the general health of the Antarctic because penguins are important krill and fish predators, and changes (natural or anthropogenic) that influence prey abundance and environmental conditions will ultimately be detected through changes in distribution or population size.

Data on penguin populations are limited because most monitored colonies are near permanent research stations and other sites are surveyed only sporadically. Because the data are so patchy, and time series relatively short, it has been difficult to build statistical models that can explain past dynamics or provide reliable future predictions. Your goal is to create better models to estimate populations for hard-to-reach sites in the Antarctic, and thereby greatly improve our ability to use penguins to monitor the health of the Southern Ocean!


June 27, 2017, 11:59 p.m. UTC

Submission to all competitions close.

Place Prize Amount
1st $4,000
2nd $2,500
3rd $2,000
4th $1,500
5th $1,000

Prediction Competition

Evaluated on predictions for the 2014, 2015, 2016 seasons.

Prize Amount
1 $1,500
2 $1,500

Modeling Report Competition

Evaluated on submitted reports providing biological reasoning about the models. Two winners will be selected by a judging panel.

Prize Amount
$2,000

2017 Prediction Bonus

The submission with the highest score for the coming 2017 season will be awarded a bonus prize in 2018.


This project is a collaborative effort between Oceanites, Inc., Black Bawks Data Science Ltd., and Dr. Heather Lynch's lab at Stony Brook University. Prize generously provided by NASA (Award NNX14AC32G).


Image courtesy of Casey Youngflesh