That’s right, it’s hackathon season. We’ve already had a bunch of hackathons with more on the horizon.

Yep, there are a ridiculous number of hackathons happening at the moment. There’s the NASA Space Apps Challenge kicking off in Melbourne today, with three hackathons in the city alone next weekend.

Before we get really busy with all these competitions, I want to cover off two that took place recently and what I loved about them: ANZICS Datathon, and CISSA CodeBrew.

ANZICS Datathon

This was an absolutely incredible hackathon, well more a datathon – a competition where participants are given data and then use that to solve problems. In this datathon, the focus was on critical and intensive care patients and information. Participants used the data collected from a number of ICU hospitals and used that to answer particular questions. It’s very much like a science experiment, with a question to ask, hypothesis, method, and results. The only difference is this process is done in a very short space of time – 2 days!

I was blown away by what teams were able to work on and solve in just two days, and so were the organisers. The event drew a diverse mix of students, data analysts, researchers, and clinicians. These people were able to work together, some who had never spoken to one another before the start of the weekend.

The presentations bought a wealth of knowledge and a huge testament to how hard teams worked over the few days. There was a team using artificial intelligence to answer some of the most sophisticated questions MedTech can ask. Others used the data to determine what factors play a role in ICU mortality rates. Overall it was an incredible effort by all teams. What impressed me the most was that the organisers and key research bodies commented on the fact that many of the teams had done the equivalent of a 12-18 month PhD project in merely two days. When you think about that amount of knowledge and academia, it’s a fantastic achievement. Not only this, but many of the teams were offered places in key international research journals to publish their work. That’s a huge accomplishment in such a narrow time frame. Additionally, many of the participants who were offered these spots in papers, are not only students, but have their names published alongside well-known researchers and clinicians. That’s a massive acceleration of one’s medical career. Yes there are a lot of big words and praise in that paragraph, but I was just so impressed by this datathon!!!

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Group of Medical students from Taipei flew over for the hackathon

All in all, it was a fantastic hackathon with great outcomes and lots of traction moving forward. ANZICS hopes this will be an ongoing event, so we’ll have to look out for that in future.

CodeBrew

The annual student hackathon run by CISSA! I was only at this hackathon briefly on Sunday so this one will be short and sweet.

This year’s theme was around “connected-ness”. An interesting theme and taken in many different directions by the students. Unlike other similar hackathons, CodeBrew was relatively ‘tame’ compared to the more chaotic ones of the past. Unless you call me getting cleared out of GitHub stickers, chaotic. Yes, I had tonnes of stickers, probably over 100, and they all went. The one everyone liked the most was Hu-Bot “I have found the things”. Classic sticker.

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Stickers being eaten up by all the hungry students

Anyways, I gave a short presentation on how to pitch, and was overjoyed when I heard later that participants had implemented my strategies. The winning team, Emergency Link told me afterwards they loved my talk and used a lot of the ideas I gave them. The team is now one of the Australian finalists in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, a ticket they gained as part of the CodeBrew winning prize.

Well that’s it for this one – short and sweet like I said.

If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted in a while, things have been super busy with BajaBoard, and I’ve started a news feature for them too. If you didn’t see our wrap up from the Grand Prix, you can read my article on the BajaBoard website.

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