A team of UW Tacoma School of Engineering & Technology faculty and students recently won first prize in a major international biomedical data and artificial intelligence competition.

The iDASH Secure Genome Analysis competition, funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, was organized around four tracks. The UW Tacoma team won track four, “Secure Collaborative Training of Machine Learning Model.”

More than 100 teams from 17 different countries registered for the competition; there were 64 submissions for track four, with nine teams making it to the final round of judging. Two other teams — Alibaba Gemini Lab and Ant Finance Service Group — tied with UW Tacoma for first place. A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) received an honorable mention.

“By winning this competition, we’ve demonstrated that UW Tacoma is not just ‘among the top’ in this field, we are the top,” said professor Martine De Cock, who led the UW Tacoma team along with associate professor Anderson Nascimento. “We had two computer science and systems graduate students — Ariel Todoki and Jianwei Shen — who leveraged their knowledge of machine learning; and a computer engineering undergraduate — Davis Railsback — who worked relentlessly for months to optimize our solution for speed.” The team also included Rafael Dowsley, a post-doctoral researcher at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University.