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21.03.2016 23:28 Age: 2 yrs
Category: Home Slider, AODN

Coders make Hackfest a success

Around 60 coding enthusiasts attended the Melbourne Science Hackfest in early March, challenged with creating innovative new applications from science data.

The event was organised and co-sponsored by ANDS, CSIRO, NeCTAR, TERN, ALA, AURIN, RDS, AuScope, IMOS & University of Melbourne.

Following a welcome reception on Friday evening, eight teams got stuck into the data to think up new ideas and create their own project from scratch, supported along the way by event mentors and organisers.

After strong competition, the $2,000 first prize went to the team behind the Anomaly Finder tool, which searches datasets for outliers and maps them geographically.

Pulsar voices, which attributed sound to pulsars based on their speed and distance, took second place.

Vision by Black was awarded third place for developing a way of automatically attributing keywords to images.

There were also a number of other interesting projects that didn't win the prize money. Some of the projects created over the weekend may now be developed further outside of the event.

Laurent Besnard, from the Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN), attended the event as a mentor to assist participants in their use of data sets.
“Over the two days, participants worked in teams to solve particular problems using available data.
“It was clear they learned a lot from the process,” said Mr Besnard.

Angus Scheibner, who also represented the AODN at the event, praised the products developed over the course of the weekend Hackfest.

"I was genuinely impressed by the level of innovation shown by participants to solve real-world problems using the data sets.

"What's more, the overall polish shown by the finished prototypes was amazing given the very limited time available to the teams," said Mr Scheibner.

The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) thanked all participants and organisers for making the event such a success. In particular, they were grateful to the two international guest speakers who attended the event: Dr Peter Löwe (Head of Development, German National Library of Science and Technology) and Dr Steve Richard (Research Geologist, Arizona Geological Survey), Dr Jens Klump from CSIRO who chaired the judging panel and the NCRIS data mentors. Congratulations to the winning teams.

The projects created at the Melbourne Science Hackfest can be viewed at www.the-hackfest.com.

You can also check out some of the activity and photos from the weekend on Twitter via the hashtag #SciHackMelb

This article has been adapted from a news item on the ANDS website, 7 March 2016.