Seasonal snowpack is a critical water resource throughout the Western U.S. Help the Bureau of Reclamation estimate snow water equivalent (SWE) at a high spatiotemporal resolution using near real-time data sources.
Getting better high-resolution snow water equivalent estimates for mountain watersheds and headwater catchments will help to improve runoff and water supply forecasts. This helps water managers better operate with limited water supplies and respond to extreme weather events such as floods and droughts.
— David Raff, Chief Engineer, Bureau of Reclamation
Seasonal mountain snowpack is a critical water resource throughout the Western U.S. Snow water equivalent (SWE) is the most commonly used measurement in water forecasts because it combines information on snow depth and density.
While ground-based instruments can be used to monitor snowpacks, ground stations tend to be spatially limited and are not easily installed at high elevations. Given the diverse landscape in the Western U.S. and shifting climate, new and improved methods are needed to accurately measure SWE at a high spatiotemporal resolution to inform water management decisions.
The goal of this challenge was to estimate SWE in real-time each week for 1km x 1km grid cells across the Western U.S. Participants could use real-time satellite, ground station, and climate data, as well as static data sources on elevation, soil, water, and land cover.
During the development phase, participants tested submissions using historical data. Then, for the first time, predictions generated by participants each week were scored against new ground truth measures as they came in! In total, competitors were evaluated against over 42,000 ground truth SWE measurements spanning 20 weeks across the 2022 peak snow and melt seasons.
Over the course of the competition, participants tested over 900 solutions and were able to significantly advance existing methods of SWE estimation. During the real-time evaluation phase, the top model achieved an impressive RMSE of 3.88 and an R-squared of 0.70.
The winning solutions were varied in their modeling approaches, ranging from Gaussian processes and multilinear regressions to tree-based ensembles and neural networks. Participants took advantage of both real-time and static data sources, and derived creative features to best predict SWE.
Submitting teams also had the opportunity to further analyze and explain their approaches through the Model Report competition, which focused on model interpretability and robustness.
See the results announcement for more information on the winning approaches. All of the prize-winning solutions and model reports from this competition, along with the real-time evaluation dataset assembled for the challenge, are linked below and available for anyone to use and learn from.
Snowcast Showdown: Development Stage: Rules and Terms of Data Use
DrivenData Competition Rules
One account per participant
You cannot sign up to DrivenData from multiple accounts and therefore you cannot submit from multiple accounts.
Private sharing of code
Privately sharing code or data outside of teams is not permitted.
Winner License Type: Open Source License
Winning solutions need to be made available under The MIT License (an open source software license commonly described at http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT) in order to be eligible for recognition and prize money if offered.
Documentation for winning solutions
Winning solutions must be documented using the Winning Model Documentation Template provided to top-ranking participants in order to be eligible for recognition and prize money if offered.
The number of submissions per day is restricted to a fixed value on a per-competition basis. Any attempt to circumvent this limit will result in disqualification.
External data is not allowed unless otherwise approved explicitly on these competition pages. Participants agree to make no attempt to use additional data or data sources not provided on these competition pages.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS COMPETITION. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.
BY ENTERING THIS COMPETITION, PARTICIPANT AGREES TO THESE COMPETITION RULES, WHICH ARE A CONTRACT, SO READ THEM CAREFULLY BEFORE ENTERING.
These are the complete, official rules (the "Competition Rules") for the competition (the "Competition") described on the website listed above or linking to these Competition Rules (the "Competition Website"). The Competition Rules incorporate by reference the contents of the Competition Website listed above.
By downloading a dataset linked from the Competition Website, submitting an entry to this Competition (a "Submission"), or joining a Team in this Competition, you are agreeing to be bound by these Competition Rules which constitute a binding agreement between you and DrivenData and, if applicable, any rules and restrictions that may be imposed by the third-party sponsor of this competition (the "Competition Sponsor").
The Competition is hosted by DrivenData, Inc ("DrivenData"). The Competition will run according to the dates listed on the Competition Website (the "Competition Period").
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Selection of winners
This Competition is a challenge of skill and the final results are determined by evaluating a combination of quantitative and qualitative factors, as more fully described on the Competition Website. For that portion of the Competition evaluated quantitatively, the results will be determined solely by leaderboard ranking on the private leaderboard based on an objective statistical evaluation metric published on the Competition Website prior to commencement of the Competition (subject to compliance with these Competition Rules). Participants' scores and ranks on the Competition Website at any given stage of the Competition will be based on the objective statistical evaluation metric described on the Competition Website, as determined by applying the predictions in the Submission to the ground truth of a validation dataset whose instances were a fixed set sampled from the Data. Scores displayed on the public leaderboard while the competition is running may or may not be the same as the final scores on the private leaderboard, depending on how samples from the Data are used for evaluation. For that portion of the Competition evaluated qualitatively, the results will be determined by a panel of judges, as more fully described on the Competition Website. As more fully described on the Competition Website, the Competition may have a quantitative winner, a qualitative winner, a combined quantitative and qualitative winner, or all three.
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- disqualify your Submission(s); or
- require that you remediate within one week any issues identified in your Submission(s) (including, without limitation, the resolution of license conflicts and confirmation of the fulfillment of all obligations required by software licenses). DrivenData is under no obligation to alert you of any issues with your Submission or permit you to remediate any identified issues.
A tie between two or more valid and identically ranked submissions will be resolved in favor of the tied submission that was submitted first.
A Participant may decline to be nominated as a Winner by notifying DrivenData directly within one week following the Competition deadline, in which case the declining Participant forgoes any prize or other features associated with winning the Competition. DrivenData reserves the right to disqualify a Participant who so declines at DrivenData's sole discretion if DrivenData deems disqualification appropriate.
Prizes and conditions
If the Competition has a prize, the Prize Winner(s) will be notified within 10 days of the end of the Competition on the Competition Website. The Prize Winner(s) will receive their prizes awarded as a check or electronic transfer from DrivenData.
If a Team wins a prize, all Team members must submit a single written statement describing how the prize is to be allocated among the Team members. If the Team fails to submit such statement within 10 days after DrivenData requests it, then DrivenData will distribute the prize among Team members in equal shares and will have no further obligation to winning Team members.
As a condition of receipt of a prize, winner must deliver their solution’s code and documentation to DrivenData. The source code must contain a description of resources required to build and run the solution, and should be able to sufficiently reproduce winning results and generate predictions on new data samples with and without retraining. The accompanying documentation should be consistent with DrivenData’s Winning Model Documentation Template, which will be provided to winners after the competition.
The prize may be awarded to an alternate winner if required documentation is not returned within fifteen (15) days after mailing to winner, if prize notification letter/email or prize is returned as undeliverable, if winner does not respond to an email or other communication from DrivenData within seven (7) days of the date sent, or if the winner, in DrivenData’s judgment, does not respond to reasonable requests for information related to prize delivery or is otherwise unable or unwilling to coordinate prize delivery within fifteen (15) days after prize notification. Allow thirty (30) days for prize delivery. By accepting any prize/award, Winner agrees to allow DrivenData and/or the Competition Sponsor to disclose Winner’s first name, first initial of last name, and city of residence, as well as prize information to the extent required by law, and if so required by law, Winner agrees to the disclosure of additional personal information, all without additional compensation.
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As a further condition of receipt of a Prize, each winning Participant thereby licenses their winning Submission and the source code used to generate the Submission according to the Winner License/Assignment Type specified above (note: if no Winner License/Assignment Type is specified above, the Winner License/Assignment Type is deemed to be Non-Exclusive License).
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- grants to Competition Sponsor and its designees a worldwide, non-exclusive, sub-licensable, transferable, fully paid-up, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right to use, not use, reproduce, distribute, create derivative works of, publicly perform, publicly display, digitally perform, make, have made, sell, offer for sale and import their winning Submission and the source code used to generate the Submission, in any media now known or hereafter developed, for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without further approval by or payment to Participant; and
- represents that he/she/it has the unrestricted right to grant that license.
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- licenses their winning Submission and the source code used to generate the Submission under the MIT License (an open source software license commonly described at http://opensource.org/licenses/MIT); and
- represents that he/she/it has the unrestricted right to grant that license.
ASSIGNMENT TO COMPETITION SPONSOR. If the Winner License/Assignment Type for the Competition (see Winner License/Assignment Type above) is Assignment to Competition Sponsor, then each Winner by accepting a Prize thereby:
- grants all right, title, and interest in and to their winning Submission and the source code used to generate the Submission, and all intellectual property rights therein, to the Competition Sponsor or their designee;
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CHEATING. Participating using more than one DrivenData account is deemed cheating and, if discovered, will result in disqualification from the Competition and any other affected Competitions and may result in banning or deactivation of affected DrivenData accounts.
DrivenData reserves the right to request information associated with our investigation of suspected cheating. Failure to respond to these requests (including failure to furnish the requested information) within ten (10) days is grounds for disqualification.
RECEIVING PRIZES. After verification of eligibility, if prizes are awarded, each Prize winner will receive the prize in the form of a check or electronic transfer from DrivenData made out to the Prize winner (if an individual, or to the individual Team members if a Team). Allow 30 days from final verification and confirmation for Prize delivery. Winners may receive an IRS 1099 form or W-8BEN, as applicable, from DrivenData in the amount of their prize at the appropriate time. Prize winners are responsible for any taxes, fees or other liability resulting from their receipt of a Prize.
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Data use and code sharing
DATA. "Data" means the data or datasets linked from the Competition Website for the purpose of use by Participants in the Competition. For the avoidance of doubt, Data is deemed for the purpose of these Competition Rules to include any prototype or executable code provided to Participants by DrivenData or via the Competition Website. Participants must use the Data only as permitted by these Competition Rules and any associated data use rules specified on the Competition Website.
Unless otherwise permitted by the terms of the Competition Website, Participants must use the Data solely for the purpose and duration of the Competition, including but not limited to reading and learning from the Data, analyzing the Data, modifying the Data and generally preparing your Submission and any underlying models and participating in forum discussions on the Competition Website. Participants agree to use suitable measures to prevent persons who have not formally agreed to these Competition Rules from gaining access to the Data and agree not to transmit, duplicate, publish, redistribute or otherwise provide or make available the Data to any party not participating in the Competition. Participants agree to notify DrivenData immediately upon learning of any possible unauthorized transmission or unauthorized access of the Data and agree to work with DrivenData to rectify any unauthorized transmission. Participants agree that participation in the Competition shall not be construed as having or being granted a license (expressly, by implication, estoppel, or otherwise) under, or any right of ownership in, any of the Data.
EXTERNAL DATA. Unless otherwise expressly stated on the Competition Website, Participants must not use data other than the Data to develop and test their models and Submissions. Competition Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any Participant who Competition Sponsor discovers has undertaken or attempted to undertake the use of data other than the Data, or who uses the Data other than as permitted according to the Competition Website and in these Competition Rules, in the course of the Competition.
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OPEN-SOURCE CODE. A Submission will be ineligible to win a prize if it was developed using code containing or depending on software licensed under an open source license:
- other than an Open Source Initiative-approved license (see http://opensource.org/licenses); or
- an open source license that prohibits commercial use.
Participant warranties and obligations
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Reservation of rights
DrivenData, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any person tampering with the entry process, the operation of the Web site, the competition process, or is otherwise in violation of the Competition Rules. DrivenData reserves the right at any time to disqualify a Submission from a Competition where, acting in good faith, it believes there are reasonable grounds to warrant disqualification. For example, DrivenData’s determination that the Submission does not provide the functionality described or required, or the Submission appears to be purposely designed to circumvent these Competition Rules or the spirit of the Competition would be grounds for disqualification. DrivenData reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify the Competition if it is not capable of completion as planned for any reason, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort. If DrivenData determines (at any time and in their sole discretion) that any Participant is engaging in behavior that DrivenData deems obnoxious, inappropriate, threatening, illegal or that is intended to annoy, abuse, or harass any other person or entity, DrivenData reserves the right to disqualify such Participant (and Participant’s Team, if applicable).
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Limitations of liability
By participating in the Competition, each Participant agrees that: (1) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or in connection with the Competition, or any prize awarded, shall be resolved individually without resort to any form of class action; (2) any claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the Competition, but in no event attorney's fees; and (3) under no circumstances will a Participant be permitted to obtain any award for, and each Participant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental or consequential damages and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than damages for actual out-of-pocket expenses.
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Disclaimer of Warranties
You understand that we cannot and do not guarantee or warrant that the Data or other files available for downloading from the internet or the Competition Website will be free of viruses or other destructive code. You are responsible for implementing sufficient procedures and checkpoints to satisfy your particular requirements for anti-virus protection and accuracy of data input and output, and for maintaining a means external to our site for any reconstruction of any lost data. RELEASED PARTIES WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE CAUSED BY A DISTRIBUTED DENIAL-OF-SERVICE ATTACK, VIRUSES OR OTHER TECHNOLOGICALLY HARMFUL MATERIAL THAT MAY INFECT YOUR COMPUTER EQUIPMENT, COMPUTER PROGRAMS, DATA OR OTHER PROPRIETARY MATERIAL DUE TO YOUR USE OF THE WEBSITE OR ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE OR TO YOUR DOWNLOADING OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON IT, OR ON ANY WEBSITE LINKED TO IT.
YOUR USE OF THE COMPETITION WEBSITE, ITS CONTENT AND ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE AND RECEIPT OF ANY PRIZES IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. THE WEBSITE, ITS CONTENT AND ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE ARE PROVIDED ON AN “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS, WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, BEYOND ANY NON-EXCLUDABLE GUARANTEES (DEFINED BELOW). NEITHER THE RELEASED PARTIES NOR ANY PERSON ASSOCIATED WITH RELEASED PARTIES MAKES ANY WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION WITH RESPECT TO THE COMPLETENESS, SECURITY, RELIABILITY, QUALITY, ACCURACY OR AVAILABILITY OF THE COMPETITION WEBSITE. WITHOUT LIMITING THE FOREGOING, NEITHER RELEASED PARTIES NOR ANYONE ASSOCIATED WITH THE RELEASED PARTIES REPRESENTS OR WARRANTS THAT THE COMPETITION WEBSITE, ITS CONTENT OR ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE WILL BE ACCURATE, RELIABLE, ERROR-FREE OR UNINTERRUPTED, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, THAT OUR SITE OR THE SERVER THAT MAKES IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS OR THAT THE COMPETITION WEBSITE OR ANY SERVICES OR ITEMS OBTAINED THROUGH THE WEBSITE WILL OTHERWISE MEET YOUR NEEDS OR EXPECTATIONS.
NOTHING IN THESE COMPETITION RULES LIMITS, EXCLUDES, OR MODIFIES OR PURPORTS TO LIMIT, EXCLUDE, OR MODIFY ANY STATUTORY CONSUMER GUARANTEE OR ANY IMPLIED CONDITION OR WARRANTY, THE EXCLUSION OF WHICH FROM THESE COMPETITION RULES WOULD CONTRAVENE ANY STATUTE OR CAUSE ANY PART OF THESE TERMS TO BE VOID (“NON-EXCLUDABLE GUARANTEES”). SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATIONS IN THE PRECEDING SENTENCE AND TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY ANY MANDATORY PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE LAW, THE RELEASED PARTIES HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, STATUTORY OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, NON-INFRINGEMENT AND FITNESS FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
THE FOREGOING DOES NOT AFFECT ANY WARRANTIES WHICH CANNOT BE EXCLUDED OR LIMITED UNDER APPLICABLE LAW.
Governing Law and Jurisdiction
DrivenData shall be the sole interpreter of these Competition Rules.
All matters relating to the Competition Rules or the Competition and any dispute or claim arising therefrom or related thereto (in each case, including non-contractual disputes or claims), shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the internal laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts without giving effect to any choice or conflict of law provision or rule (whether of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or any other jurisdiction).
The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Competition Rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. In the event that any provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, these Competition Rules shall otherwise remain in effect and be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision was not contained herein.