Research & Innovation

SSE Teams Place First and Second in Defense Data Grand Prix, Heat 1

The Stevens teams were awarded for their outstanding efforts in addressing ethics, leadership and project management while tackling data challenges faced by sponsors.

Stock image of digital world map.
From top to bottom: Professor Ying Wang, Savannah Bergen ’22 and Aboubacar Diawara ’21
From top to bottom: Professor Ying Wang, Savannah Bergen ’22 and Aboubacar Diawara ’21

Two teams of faculty-student collaborators representing the School of Systems & Enterprises (SSE) were awarded top prizes in Heat 1 of the Defense Data Grand Prix, a competition established by the Acquisition Innovation Research Center (AIRC) and Department of Defense (DoD) challenging teams to solve difficult, real-world issues in data science. In the first heat, academic teams worked alongside government and corporate sponsors to recommend ways to improve access to applicable data.

First place was awarded to team SSW565, led by Associate Professor Ying Wang and her team of graduate students, Savannah Bergen ’22 and Aboubacar Diawara ’21. The three SSE researchers submitted a project to address the Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) challenge titled "Industrial Capability Program Production Input Material Identification." Through data engineering and software architecting, the project enhances the efficiency of information transforming and assists in the real-time decision making of DLA operations. 

Among all submissions, SSW565’s approach was deemed the most feasible and impactful for the DLA, earning them first place.

“It was very exciting to be a part of a challenge to help solve a real-world problem,” said Bergen, a software engineer in the Applied Physics Laboratory at John Hopkins University and student currently enrolled in SSE’s master of systems engineering program. “This type of work puts the concepts we learned in class into context and provides an avenue for feedback about the application of such concepts with a real stakeholder.”

“Using exceptional critical thinking and research methodology learned in Professor Ying Wang’s class, this joint collaborative work has been a great learning and practical experience,” added Diawara, a full stack engineering intern at Numeraxial LLC and recent graduate of the software engineering master’s program

Headshot of Professor Paul Grogan
Professor Paul Grogan

Second place additionally went to SSE, awarded to Assistant Professor Paul Grogan who participated as the solo member of the Collective Design Lab team for the project titled “Lead-Time Variability Model with the DLA Aviation Organization.”

“The Defense Data Grand Prix provided the opportunity, incentive, and intellectual freedom to address demand and supply chain challenges faced by DLA Aviation by applying data science principles” says Grogan. His project estimates the inventory required to meet target levels of components managed by DLA Aviation while addressing the varying times between initiating and completing production.

Both teams will continue into Heat 2 during which competitors will demonstrate scalable access and sharing of real, transformed or synthetic defense acquisition data. Two more teams from Stevens Institute of Technology will join SSE in Heat 2, set to begin on February 28.