AWS for Industries

In the News: Morningstar Launches Global AWS DeepRacer Corporate Competition to Accelerate Application of Machine Learning

The following article originally appeared on Morningstar.

First corporate AWS DeepRacer competition fuels hands-on learning in machine learning and artificial intelligence across more than 445 employees worldwide

CHICAGO, May 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Morningstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: MORN), a leading provider of independent investment research, kicked off the first companywide internal Amazon Web Services (AWS) DeepRacer competition this week. More than 445 employees from multiple functions and 8 countries—including 35 percent of Morningstar’s technology function—have formed nearly 100 teams in the AWS DeepRacer League, programming and racing autonomous 1/18th scale race cars that have machine learning capabilities on board. The AWS DeepRacer League Virtual Circuit is accessible to all developers, and cars can be pre-ordered now at

“Our DeepRacer challenge harnesses our employees’ enthusiasm for machine learning and artificial intelligence. It provides hands-on training across the company and accelerates Morningstar’s practical application of machine learning across our investing products, services and processes,” said James Rhodes, chief technology officer at Morningstar. “The response from our teams has gone well beyond my expectations, and it has been a fun way to unite our global teams, whether in technology or other functions.”

In addition to using virtual race tracks within the AWS DeepRacer simulator, physical tracks will be available across Morningstar offices from Chicago to Mumbai to host a number of intracity corporate competitions. Winning teams from participating Morningstar offices will advance to regional competitions, and those winners will compete in Morningstar’s global championship in September 2019. Morningstar will then send qualifying winners to compete for a place in the final at AWS re:Invent 2019 in Las Vegas this December, where developers from around the world will go head-to-head for the coveted 2019 AWS DeepRacer League Cup.

“We listen to our customers, and they tell us they need more skilled talent in machine learning. We created AWS DeepRacer as a fun and engaging way to train developers on machine learning,” said Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of machine learning, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “AWS DeepRacer is helping to put machine learning in the hands of developers of all skill levels and industries, including financial services. Participants learn practical skills through autonomous racing in the AWS DeepRacer League, online and at in-person events. We are delighted to see Morningstar leading the charge with AWS DeepRacer and Amazon SageMaker to fuel its adoption of machine learning.”

In addition to growing employees’ familiarity with AWS during Morningstar’s transition to AWS, the competition will drive further adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning across its business. Morningstar is investing in these areas to automate data-collection processes, enabling fresher, almost real-time data while freeing resources to work on newer data sets. Additionally, last year, Morningstar dramatically expanded the number of funds it covers by rolling out the Morningstar Qualitative Rating to leverage predictions from a machine-learning model trained to emulate how Morningstar analysts make decisions and assess a fund’s ability to outperform its peer group or relevant benchmark.

Learn more about AWS DeepRacer Enterprise Events.