MAR 30, 2023

The AIRC Defense Data Grand Prix Announces Heat 3 Winners

Heat 3 of the Defense Data Grand Prix (DDGP) kicked off in September 2022 with six universities, eight teams, five DLA problems, and the addition of a new data sponsor, the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC). On January 10, 2023, Heat 3 of the DDGP concluded with a virtual award ceremony hosted by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and Acquisition Innovation Research Center (AIRC). The DDGP provides research opportunities that allow faculty-led academic teams to engage directly with government problem owners. Heat 3 teams focused on applying advanced analytics and visualization on actual defense acquisition data to solve sponsor problems.

For the DLA division, five teams received awards during the January 10 event for their solutions to DLA-related problems, with two teams tied for fourth place. During the award ceremony, keynote speaker Mr. Nelson Alvarez, Deputy, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at DLA, highlighted the benefits presented by the DDGP, stating, “We need academia to be the connective tissue to help bridge the knowledge gap. We are considering how to bring talent and producers of products into the DLA and into the government as interns, for example, and to bring recent hires directly into government services.”

The winners of Heat 3 in the DLA division are: 

  • First place ($40K):TTU Data Science team, including Drs. Alireza Zadeh (faculty lead), Eric Brown and Jaeki Song (Texas Tech University), in the area of On Time Delivery Predictive Model for a project with the Analytics Center of Excellence (ACE) that provides models and algorithms that accurately predict late-delivery contracts for DLA Aviation that risk warfighter readiness.
  • Second place ($30K): UAH Chargers Fusion team led by Dr. Jacob Hauenstein (The University of Alabama in Huntsville), in the area of DLA Records Management Electronic Records Transition for a project with the Information Governance and Compliance Office and Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) that developed a web-based, interactive model to identify DLA documents to digitize for compliance with OMB Directive M-19-21.
  • Third place ($20K):Brainstorm team led by Dr. Feng Liu (Stevens Institute of Technology), in the area of DLA Distribution CONUS Storage Utilization for a project with DLA Acquisition that developed predictive, prescriptive and optimization analysis that can increase DLA warehouse density by 126% and occupancy score by 28%.
  • Fourth place ($10K, Tied):SSW565 team led by Dr. Ying Wang (Stevens Institute of Technology), in the area of Identifying Raw Materials for Industrial Capability Program for a project with DLA Acquisition that developed and piloted real-time and long-term risk detection and prediction approaches for clothing and textile supply chains.
  • Fourth place ($10K, Tied):The Hokie Bunch team led by Dr. Christian Lucero (Virginia Tech), in the area of On Time Delivery Predictive Model for a project with ACE that developed a tool to predict what DLA Aviation orders will be late.

In the USMC division, competitors piloted the use of a CUI-compliant information system hosted by Virginia Tech. The Defense Acquisition Research Collaboration and Innovation Environment (DARCIE) enabled the Stevens Institute of Technology and George Mason University teams to access USMC-provided readiness data. These data included maintenance records, manning records, part order records, and flight hours.

In this division, the George Mason and Stevens Institute teams tied, each earning a $25K award for their outstanding efforts. The George Mason team led by Dr. Brett Berlin assessed maintenance efficiency, whereas the Stevens team led by Dr. Ying Wang demonstrated predictive relationships between flight and maintenance hours. Both projects demonstrated how data could more accurately characterize maintenance operations than traditional intuitive approaches. They also demonstrated how readiness data can be used to provide feedback on acquisition decisions such as manning, equipment use profiles, and spare parts.

On March 21, 2023, the USMC and AIRC hosted the virtual award ceremony. Mr. Russell Blauw, the Assistant Deputy Commandant for Aviation (Sustainment),  noted the outstanding and novel contributions of both teams and expressed the need to continue such work.

Planning for DDGP 2 is in progress with Heat 1 scheduled to begin in Fall 2023, registration expected to open in Summer 2023 and Heat 2 scheduled for Spring 2024.

Further information about the Defense Data Grand Prix can be found on the website.