STUOD Hackathon winners announced!
On 29-31 March 2021, the MPE CDT students, young researchers and scientifically minded individuals came together to compete in the first annual STUOD Hackathon. The event provided a virtual forum for technology, software coding and programming teams to apply their problem-solving skills and come up with innovative solutions to one of these real-world challenges:
- Machine learning with weather and climate data
- Data assimilation with nudging applied to Surface Quasi-Geostroph
- Numerical experimentation for Stochastic Models for Surface Guasi-Geostrophy
Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes – the teams
Individuals were welcome to participate regardless of technical knowledge or experience. The only criteria to take part was a passion to innovate and a desire to make a change.
Overall, twelve teams participated in the STUOD Hackathon, with more than 30 participants from campuses across Europe, including innovators from France, Germany, Norway and United Kingdom. This diverse set of participants ranged from undergraduate and postgraduate students to early career professionals.
Full details of the event's programme
Due to the Covid-19 health crisis and its preventive measures, 100% of the event took place online. Indeed, these circumstances did not prevent our attendees from creating pioneering solutions.
The teams were provided with detailed information about the challenges and given approximately 24 hours to tackle the chosen one. At first, each team received training from the Hackathon’s organisers. Then, the actual competition began. Attendees were also joined by 7 facilitators/technical experts, who jointly had over 100 years-experience working in the field of data assimilation, machine learning, satellite oceanography, fluid dynamics and stochastic analysis.
There were plenty of opportunities for collaboration across teams such as Lunchtime Presentations or Water Cooler breaks and regular check-ins.
The lunchtime presentations were optional to attend but a great way to learn more about STUOD and other related skills that might be helpful with the final solution. These included:
- Demo on GlobCurrent by Lucile Gaultier (OceanDataLab)
OceanDataLab is a private research laboratory that was established in 2013 by long time Ocean Remote Sensing and IT experts working in close collaboration with the Space Oceanography Laboratory at IFREMER.
- Education film on “The future of glaciers” followed by discussion. This film is part of Mathematics of Planet Earth.
The organisers encouraged short hangouts during which all participants have opportunities to get to know each other better. To facilitate random chats and exchanging the non-work-related content a “Water Cooler” breakout room was created.
Towards the end of the day all teams were urged to send their representative to do a short update on: What are you working on? What do you still need to do? What help do you need?.
The highlight of the program was undoubtedly the Final Pitches Day.
STUOD’s Hackathon was taking place entirely online, so we have set two virtual workspaces for you to participate in Zoom and Slack. Zoom was used as a real-time video communication and collaboration tool where we hosted all gatherings (including the lunchtime sessions) and participant could find announcements from the organisers.
Slack offered many Internet Relay Chat -style features, including direct messaging.
Meet this year's STUOD Hackathon judging panel
This year judging panel included representatives from the STUOD community: Prof Bertrand Chapron (France, Ifremer-Bretagne), Prof Darryl Holm (UK, Imperial College London, Department of Mathematics), Prof Etienne Mémin (France, INRIA) and Prof Dan Crisan (UK, Imperial College London, Department of Mathematics). The process of picking the winners and runners-up was difficult, to say the least. But somehow, the judging panel managed to narrow in on some truly standout solutions.
Participants were also keen to share their feedback on the event
Here its what they mentioned:
“Collaboration with very kind people, great atmosphere, interesting project”
“There was a good amount of guidance for the tasks, but they were also sufficiently open-ended”
“It was very well run and organised, thank you! The challenges and the freedom to approach different problems were great”
A huge thank you to the organisers and judges, without whom we could not have made it such a success. And of course, thank you to all of the hackers, for the strength of their ideas, the depths of their passion in hacking for good, and their vast amounts of time…we celebrate you all!
Congratulations to the winning teams
We had some fantastic entries to choose amongst and the judging panels had a hard job. Unfortunately, there could only be a select number of winners, so please join us in celebrating their ideas.
Winners were awarded £100 Amazon voucher each:
- Team 6: Lois Baker (MPE CDT, Imperial College London), Stuart Patching (MPE CDT, Imperial College London) and Thomas Gregory (MPE CDT, Imperial College London)
Runners-up were awarded with awarded £50 Amazon voucher each:
- Team 8: Danila Kurganov (UG student at Imperial College London) and Oliver Phillips (MPE CDT, University of Reading)
- Team 9: Philipp Breul (MPE CDT, Imperial College London), Benjamin Aslan (PhD student at University College London), Jakob Wessel (MSc student at University College London), Fiona Spuler
Chatting with the Winners
We decided to conduct a short interview with the winning teams and discuss further not only their solutions but also the event experience overall.
Lois Baker from Team 6 said: “The STUOD hackathon was a really enjoyable experience - as a team we learnt so much about previously unfamiliar topics. Huge thanks to the organisers for putting together such interesting and well thought out challenges and for their help throughout”
“The STUOD hackathon was a really enjoyable experience - as a team we learnt so much about previously unfamiliar topics. Huge thanks to the organisers for putting together such interesting and well thought out challenges and for their help throughout”
Stuart Patching from the same team added:
“ I really enjoyed the collaborative aspect of the Hackathon and definitely learnt a lot from the other members of my team. The projects were interesting and accessible so that someone like me who had limited machine learning knowledge at the start of the project was able to explore different ideas and be creative in solving the problems”
Tom Gregory (Team 6) concluded:
"It was such a well-organised event, and a great opportunity to work with interesting people I wouldn't normally get to, do something different and learn some new things! I'm already looking forward to the next one, and it's definitely made me more confident to attend similar events in future."
Benjamin Aslan from Team 9 commented:
"Despite the competitive nature of the event, I perceived the atmosphere of the STUOD Hackathon as supportive and encouraging, which was ideal for learning a lot in just a few days."
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Department of Mathematics