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Identifying defects in steel production: Jacobs University students take top places in the SMS Data Challenge

Gari Jose Ciodaro Guerra, Dr. Stefan Kettemann and Avinash Niroula (from left to right) are happy about the success in the SMS digital Data Challenge. (Source: Jacobs University)


February 3, 2020

Their task was to develop an algorithm that recognizes and visualizes errors in steel production. In the SMS digital Data Challenge, Gari Jose Ciodaro Guerra finished second and Avinash Niroula fourth. Both of them are currently in their second year of the Master’s Program in Data Engineering at Jacobs University Bremen. The victory went to two students from the University of Duisburg-Essen, third place was taken by a team from the South Ural State University Chelyabinsk.

Identifying the defects early not only prevents immense costs but also leads to a reduction in CO2 emissions in course of steel production. In order to develop an algorithm based on data analysis and machine learning, the participants received a total of over 30,000 pieces of input information on the raw material composition of the steel and material defects. A jury of experts from SMS digital evaluated whether the students' predictions matched the actual defects in steel production. Bernhard Steenken, Managing Director of SMS digital, emphasized that the innovative approaches of the young data scientists are enormously helpful and open up a different perspective on the problems within the steel industry. Furthermore, the company hopes to attract the best minds among the students to join their team. SMS digital is a subsidiary of the SMS group, founded in 1871 and an internationally active company in the field of metallurgical and rolling technology with about 14,000 employees worldwide.

At Jacobs University, the SMS Data Challenge was presented by Dirk Lieftucht, Head of Metallurgical Applications at SMS digital, and Prof. Dr. Katja Windt, Member of the Board of Management of SMS group in the context of the seminar "Current Topics of Data Engineering". On the part of Jacobs University, Dr. Stefan Kettemann, Professor for Complex Systems, and Dr. Carlos Brandt supported the challenge.

Gari Jose Ciodaro Guerra studied mechanical engineering at Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia before coming to Jacobs University. Avinash Niroula has already completed his bachelor's degree in physics on the campus. In addition to prize money of € 15,000 for the first-placed team and € 5,000 for the runner-up, the winners will also get to go on a guided tour of the U.S. steel plant of one of North America's largest steel manufacturers.

Contact for further information:
Prof. Dr. Stefan Kettemann, SPC Data Engineering
s.kettemann [at]