GECCO Challenge 2014

Active protection against pollution of the surface water

We are happy to announce the Winners of the Gecco 2014 Industrial Challenge:

  1. Aranildo Lima & Fernando Nogueira
    (University of British Columbia)
  2. Stephan M. Winkler(University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria)

Further details on the results, evaluation and testdata can be found here. The competitor with the best prediction is rewarded with an iPad, which is kindly sponsored by Bartz&Bartz.

Submission closed.

Resource Package updated, containing now even more extensive descriptions of the provided training data.

The Resource Package, containing the required datasets, software, and the official rules and regulations is now available for download.


Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and is vital for all known forms of life.
The holistic consideration of water as an important means of nourishment as well as the general protection of lakes and rivers are a central basis for the growth and further development of human civilization. At the same time, the civilization itself is a menace to the purity of our drinking water.
With the steady growth of the civilization, its amount of produced wastewater and the need of a strong agriculture grows in parallel. Both, strong cattle dunging and frequently overloaded combined wastewater systems, build the basis for an increasing emergence of ammonia which is also influenced by many other environmental parameters. Ammonia is highly toxic and a threat, particularly to fish and other aquatic creatures.
To deal with this scenario, highly sensible sensors record all kind of water- and environmental data at several measuring stations all over the region ‘Bergisches Land’ near cologne, on a regular basis. The collected data can be analyzed to discover correlations between the different properties of the water and the influence on environmental features. This allows for an understanding of the chemical processes in the water to enable us to predict the emergence of ammonia. This knowledge can be used to invent counteractions to prevent too much ammonia from emerging.
This year’s industrial partner is the Aggerverband, an organization that among others maintains the sensors in the mentioned region. The Aggerverband kindly provides data from these sensors. Goal of the GECCO 2014 Industrial Challenge is to analyze the relations between the influencing parameters to develop accurate forecasting methods that allow the prediction of the emergence of ammonia.

Highlights of the GECCO 2014 Industrial Challenge include:

  • Interesting Problem Domain: Forecasting the emergence of ammonia based on chemical- and environmental data offers a challenging test case for modern time series prediction methods.
  • Real-world Data: Real water and environmental time series are provided for training, testing, and assessing forecasting methods.
  • Direct Link to Industry: The Aggerverband will evaluate the winning submissions for an implementation in real-world applications. Moreover, a direct contact with the winning participants, who will keep all rights to their forecasting system, is highly appreciated by the Aggerverband.

About the Aggerverband

The Aggerverband, based in Gummersbach, is a special legal watercompany and therefore
a public corporation. Its catchment area covers approx. 1100 km2, ranging from Meinerzhagen to Siegburg (North Rhine Westphalia). With its 400 employees, it is responsible for all environmental concerns relevant to water, in particular drinking water treatment and wastewater treatment. The Aggerverband operates 32 sewage treatment plants purifying the wastewater of about 350,000 inhabitants.

Downloads and Submission

  • Download the Call for Participation in PDF format.
  • Download the GECCO 2014 IC Resource Package, containing the required datasets, software, and the official rules and regulations in ZIP Format. Please see the file README.txt for further instructions.
  • Please use the GECCO 2014 IC Submission Form for sending your submission.

Important Dates and Contacts

  • Software and Data Availability: April 20, 2014
  • Challenge Submission Deadline: June 22, 2014
  • GECCO-2013 Conference: July 12-16, 2014
  • Contact: gecco at

Organizing Committee and Sponsors

  • Martina Friese, Cologne University of Applied Sciences
  • Andreas Fischbach, Cologne University of Applied Sciences
  • Oliver Flasch, Cologne University of Applied Sciences
  • Olaf Mersmann, Cologne University of Applied Sciences
  • Thomas Bartz-Beielstein, Cologne University of Applied Sciences
  • Klaus Walbeck, Aggerverband KdöR

GECCO is sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group for Genetic and Evolutionary Computation (ACM SIGEVO). Title picture copyright by Jaap Steinvoorte (Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic).