Executive Insights

Checking In on the 2023-2024 Altair Global Student Contest

By Jim Ryan | VP, Global Academic Program | February 13, 2024

We are a little past halfway through our one-year Global Student Contest and are seeing surging levels of submissions each month. It is clear that more and more students are taking pride in showcasing their new and innovative ways to increase sustainability through Altair’s topology optimization technology.

Recall that this year’s edition of the Global Student Contest challenged students, as individuals or teams, to lightweight anything – while meeting (or even exceeding) its required level of structural integrity.

As such, our vision for the Global Student Contest was to utilize Altair® Inspire™ to complement the latest theoretical concepts and first principles faculty instructors are teaching in courses around the world. 

We also wanted our Altair Global Student Contest to dovetail with student competitions hosted by third parties such as the Formula Student, Baja SAE, Solar Car Challenge, AIAA Design-Build-Fly, University Rover Challenge, and so many more. Students building ground vehicles, aircraft, robots, rovers, and more for those other competitions were invited to submit those designs to our contest as well. 


Contest Results and Highlights to Date 

In the eight months this contest has been running, we have received an eclectic set of entries from a diverse set of students from all over the world – and have awarded more than $20,000 in prizes

Our 24 Global Student Contest winners to date have come from schools in Brazil, Columbia, Turkey, South Africa, and Nigeria, as well as many parts of Germany, India, and the U.S., such as this TUFast team from Munich involved with the Eco Challenge. And while most of our winners participated while pursuing degrees at universities, two of them were pre-university students (aged 17) involved with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Specifically, these two winners learned to apply the powerful, yet easy-to-use Inspire software to their CAD models to help them build better robots faster as part of their involvement with the popular FIRST® Robotics Competition!


How Has the Global Student Contest Benefitted Students?

Students participating in the Global Student Contest have successfully lightweighted a wide range of components associated with ground vehicles, aircraft, spacecraft, boats, robots, sports equipment, tools, furniture, and more – helping reduce material costs and improve the energy efficiency of associated systems when power is required. 

As you can sense from the diversity of students and their submissions, they have realized firsthand that technology – like Altair’s topology optimization capabilities – can help them remove mass from just about any part imaginable.

In essence, they have become more real-world-ready, experiencing how simulation and rapid prototyping can save them time and money while also improving their products’ performance! As such, they are better prepared to hit the ground running in the not-too-distant future when they start their careers and enter the workforce. 

Overall, these students have realized Altair’s vision for all its customers – to leverage computational science to drive intelligent decisions for a safer, more connected, and more sustainable future. 


What’s Remaining with this Student Contest?

As we approach the tail end of the Global Student Competition, we have four more sets of monthly prizes to award. As is the case each month, we can’t wait to see what amazing design improvements they can achieve with Altair technology. 

And then, finally, we will conclude by awarding our $7,500 grand prize. The winner will be selected from among the 36 preceding monthly winners and chosen by a panel of expert judges from industry and academia – some of the same people who have been involved with the Altair Enlighten Award (upon which this particular student contest was based). 


What Does the Contest’s Future Look Like? 

Given the tremendous interest and buzz around data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning, we will expand our 2024-2025 Global Student Contest will focus on these areas. Altair’s investment and thought leadership in these fields reflects our commitment to helping customers converge data science with engineering design and simulation. We will announce more details for the upcoming Global Student Contest in the summertime.  

But eager students wanting to get a head start on Altair’s data-focused contest don’t need to wait until then. Instead, they should check out our Learning and Teaching Hub for Altair® AI Studio™ (formerly known as Altair RapidMiner Studio®). They should do this especially to get the free educational edition of Altair AI Studio, which anyone can use for non-commercial purposes. It will be at the heart of our next Global Student Contest!