EY announces 2021 Better Working World Data Challenge focused on wildfire management through data analytics and AI


EY today announces the 2021 Better Working World Data Challenge, a global competition for aspiring data scientists. The Challenge is part of the EY commitment to innovate and use technology to address some of the world’s largest environmental and climate change problems. The focus of this year’s competition is on leveraging data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to help find solutions to better manage wildfires.

The global Challenge has been expanded to include all university students and non-students with less than two years of professional experience in data science or a related field, building on the inaugural 2019 program where participation was limited to university students from 19 countries.

EY is working in collaboration with Microsoft, which is providing its Azure cloud platform to participants. Individuals will use the platform along with satellite imagery provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to create algorithms to help wildfire management teams improve front-line decision-making during fire emergency responses. These models will include capabilities to generate fire-edge maps or predict where a fire may spread.

Carmine Di Sibio, EY Global Chairman and CEO, says:

“The EY purpose of building a better working world drives us every day. We are committed to enabling the next generation of talent in finding solutions to some of the most pressing challenges globally. Many countries have faced significant loss of life and disruption due to wildfires and we are proud to support efforts that can look to address this issue using the power of data and technology.”

During the three-month competition period, a series of webinars jointly provided by technologists from EY and Microsoft will provide participants with additional information about the tasks in the Challenge and help them familiarize themselves with the Azure environment, develop additional skills and refine their work. A network of wildfire authorities, earth observation groups and science education organizations will also provide support and knowledge so the participants’ work can create maximum impact and change through data, AI and technology.

Beatriz Sanz Saiz, EY Global Consulting Data and Analytics Leader, says:

“It is essential to encourage aspiring data scientists and help them recognize that they can apply their skills to analyze real-world problems and develop algorithms that can have a lasting positive impact. We want participants to use the power of data science to find innovative solutions to the most complex and demanding problems. We are very excited to see the kinds of transformative AI models that our 2021 Better Working World Data Challenge participants will propose this year, and in years to come, to help build a better world.”

The winning algorithms will be announced in July 2021 and winners will receive cash prizes.