Our first data challenge is over.


Data Science meets Steel Industry – an exciting match of heavy metal and high tech.

SMS digital presents its first open data challenge.

This challenge is open for any individual participant or team with a data science background who are interested in expanding the boundaries of the status quo in Steel Production processes.

Are you up for a little challenge and ready to dive deeply into pre-processed, real-world production data?

Then sign up here and participate in the contest to get access to our data sets.

There’s a five-figure price money waiting for the top two participants.




SMS digital is the digital laboratory of SMS group, a worldwide leading steel plant manufacturer from Dusseldorf. Its mission is to test and develop digital business models with the help of state of the art technologies. Naturally, applied data science plays a major role in this initiative.

Casting slabs of quality steel is a process that is highly sensitive to changes in its production and environmental parameters. Hence, predicting casting defects during the process is an important challenge for the operators of steel plants and their customers.

So far, the primary method for prediction and detection of slab surface defects have been stochastic procedures on continuous measurements. In the future however, SMS digital hopes to improve the predictive quality of the existing procedures by applying state-of-the-art data mining and analytics methods. This will be the objective of SMS digital’s data challenge that promises a 5-figures price money for the top contributors.


1st prize:


2nd prize:



The Top 10 will be invited to an on-site tour at a German steel plant


  1. Register on this website.
  2. Confirm participation by agreeing to the terms & conditions
  3. Access the data sets when the challenge begins
  4. Upload your results before the deadline
  5. Wait for the jury’s announcement of the top 10 submissions
  6. Top 10 participants pitch their approaches to jurors
  7. Winner winner chicken dinner!



1st: Florian Borchert (Germany)

Software engineer at data experts since 2009 in the area of EU agricultural subsidy management. Computer Science graduate student at HU Berlin with a focus on data science and machine learning. Wrote his master's thesis on knowledge extraction from business process event logs in the public administration. Florian likes SVMs, sequential tagging, probabilistic graphical models and sport climbing.

2nd: Thanish Batcha (India)

After my engineering I started my career as a software engineer in mainframe technology. Within the first 3 months I realized working in a technology of my grandfather like cobol and jcl was not my cup of tea.  I continued for 1 year without knowing what to do next. Then I heard about a word called analytics somewhere I don't even remember. I did some googling and enrolled for a statistics MOOC which was the base for data science. I completed it - then I enrolled for a machine learning MOOC, completed it too and keep going for 5-6 MOOCs in machine learning one after the other and completing them successfully. That's when I realized data science is what I love to do and that it should be my future. So then I decided to hunt for a job as a data scientist. It was the toughest few months where no one offered me a job as I had no prior work experience in data science. I failed almost 6-7 interviews. I reached a point to give up. I remember lying flat on the floor in my room and staring at the ceiling and asking myself "Am I heading in the right direction? Should I continue my hunt or settle for whatever I am doing now?". Then I gave myself time to keep searching for a data science job for the next 3 months. If didn't make it then I would continue my mainframe path. With god's grace I made it through my very next interview within a month. I quit my previous job and on February 29, 2016 my designation was changed from a software engineer to data scientist. Here I am and the rest - as they say - is history.


A jury of six experts from the data science and steel industry are looking forward to interacting with you throughout the challenge. They will evaluate your results after the submission deadline.

Markus Reifferscheid, PhD

Head of R&D at SMS group

Dirk Lieftucht, PhD

Department Lead at SMS group,
in charge of the Slab Quality Guard®

Maximilian Wagner

CEO of SMS digital

Marc Weimer-Hablitzel

Chief Data Scientist at etventure

Esra Erdem-Hornauer, PhD

Metallurgist at SMS group

Friedrich Arnold

Project Manager Data Science at etventure