Purdue ag technology researchers part of winning hackathon team


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Two researchers in Purdue University’s Open Ag Technologies and Systems (OATS) Group were part of the five-member winning team at the Nutreco Agrivision Hackathon, an international competition to promote the potential of data and technology innovation in livestock farming.

Aaron Ault, senior research engineer for OATS, and Samuel Noel, graduate student in agricultural and biological engineering, helped devise Swine Smarts, a software package that streamlines the flow of critical livestock health, muscle and fat percentage data among farmers and their feed and genetics suppliers.

In addition to Ault and Noel, team members were Bram Visser, Hendrix Genetics; Rob Knapen, Wageningen University; and honorary member Simeon Nedkov, a geo-IT consultant.

The team received a golden pig trophy and $2,800 check to fund further research from former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, a speaker at the Agrivision conference in the Netherlands where the competition was held.

“Participating in this hackathon was a fantastic experience for us,” Ault said. “The room was full of a such a great set of super smart people that we were really inspired by the power of communities to tackle hard problems. It is amazing to see how groups of people who started the day as strangers could all come together to build promising solutions only 32 hours later.”

The OATS Group consists of farmers, professors, students, scientists and engineers from Purdue’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering and the Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering in the College of Agriculture. Its mission is to develop open-source projects for data analysis in agriculture.

“It is exciting to be on the forefront of the digital ag revolution,” said OATS Group member Dennis Buckmaster, assistant dean and professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. “But collecting data is not enough. In order to provide value to everyone in the ag supply chain, the data must be readily accessible and sharable. That is why we are focused on providing useful, practical solutions to ag data challenges.”

For more information on the OATS Group, visit the website at https://engineering.purdue.edu/oatsgroup/.

Writer: Darrin Pack, 765-494-8415, dpack@purdue.edu
Source: Aaron Ault, 765-494-3530, ault@purdue.edu
Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Shari Finnell, Manager/Media Relations and Public Information, sfinnell@purdue.edu
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