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Sniffest2A group of undergraduate students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University placed first in the SnifFEST student competition at the 17th International Symposium on Olfaction and Electronic Nose (ISOEN) at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, on May 28-31.

The mission of the SnifFEST competition is to attract new talent to the machine olfaction community and advance the field by promoting practical and original solutions to odor measurement problems.

For the competition, students were provided with sensors and hardware to build their own odor measurement instruments. Seven teams entered the competition, three from the United States and four from Europe. The competition consisted of a qualification round, during which the teams were given nine samples of cheese, three of which were outliers. Six of the samples were cheddar cheese, while the three outliers were blue cheese. The teams had 20 minutes to identify the outliers using the instrument they had designed. The final round followed a similar format, but with a more difficult set of cheese samples.Sniffest1

Ultimately, the teams were judged based on accuracy, response time and popular vote. The Aggie team, consisting of seniors Chris Findeisen, Wes Moncrief and Xuchu Zhang, placed first after being the only team to correctly identify all three outliers in the final round. Dr. Ricardo Gutierrez-Osuna, professor, served as the faculty mentor for the team.

ISOEN 2017 was co-sponsored by the International Society for Olfaction and Chemical Sensing, the IEEE Sensors Council and the IEEE Montreal Section. It featured sessions on topics such as solid-state sensors to instrumentation, special sessions on standards, robotics, distributed sensing and breath analysis.