For this year’s conference, we will have the usual traditional shootout. Presentations will be held on Tuesday evening and the top 3 participants will be given awards at the closing banquet.
The topic of this year's competition focuses on water and is themed as The Application of Aquaphotomics in Data Evaluation. In Aquaphotomics, water is analyzed under various perturbations, using a set of narrow wavelength regions ("water bands" or WAter MAtrix CoordinateS - WAMACS) that have been assigned with the help of chemometric tools.
Different areas of science (including NIRS) have shown that water's OH bond sensitively responds to the presence of dissolved molecules but also very strongly to other water molecules and environmental conditions, which is why bands appearing in spectra of aqueous solutions have been generally considered as disturbing factors when targeting components other than water. Participants of this year's shootout will experience utilizing the wavelength region in which water is the primary absorber (1300-1600 nm/ 7690-6250 cm-1). Through distinguishing and quantifying the presence of some standard solutes (both absorbing and non-absorbing), they will learn (by doing) to approach spectroscopy and chemometrics in a way that complements the standard approach.
As always, the competition aims to determine the person who developed the most accurate model for a particular problem. Traditional classification and regression tasks have been formulated, along with a bonus "game task" aimed at developing the complementary perspective. Thinking in terms of specific water spectral patterns will play an interesting role in extracting the best result.