Students Tackle Real Business Problems at Python Hackathon

4 teams of Dal Computer Science students proved their innovation at the latest ShiftKey Labs Hackathon.

The ShiftKey-Py Hackathon took place February 22 – 24 and challenged teams to creatively solve valuable business problems using web frameworks including Python and Django.

Sponsored by social media analytics company Leadsift, the Hackathon saw students tackle issues including corporate Twitter account mapping, B2B/B2C classification of online profiles and personal vs. professional social media post classifiers.

Following two days of problem solving, students presented their solutions to a panel of expert judges with team StarDotStar’s B2B/B2C webpage classifier coming out on top.

The winning team used a range of technologies including Python, Django, NLTK and scikit-learn to build their own classifier to determine if companies from a shared dataset were B2B or B2C.

Sponsor Leadsift were so impressed by the StarDotStar’s winning solution, team member Kundan Kumar was offered full-time employment with the organisation.

Grant Wells, Manager at ShiftKey Labs said: “Hackathons like this one are part of a wide range of events organised by ShiftKey Labs for students and the community throughout the year. The sessions act as a fantastic opportunity for teams and individuals to develop their skills, access industry expertise through mentorship and gain recognition for their work. Kundan’s employment offer following the event is testament to how Hackathons such as this one are mutually beneficial to students, universities and the wider community.”

A very special thanks goes out to Colin Conrad and Vlado Keselj for their work coordinating and delivering this event.

Java GUI Hack-a-thon with Spring

To cap off another successful semester, ShiftKey Labs is planning a whopper of an event! Over the weekend of November 25th-27th, learn about front-end Java development using the Spring framework and compete for $1000 in cash prizes!

The goal is simple: Tap into your creativity to build a working software prototype of anything you want using Java and Spring within 48 hours! If you’re new to Spring, don’t worry, we’ll be running a lead-in Spring workshop and technical coaches will be on-hand throughout the event to support.

Any post-secondary student with an interest in Java coding is welcome!

Schedule

Friday, November 25th
5:00 pm Registration
5:30 pm Kick off
5:45 pm Workshop: Java GUI design using Spring and Java coding conventions
6:30 pm Break/Pizza
6:40 pm Workshop continues
8:00 pm End of workshop
END DAY 1
Saturday, November 26th
9:30 am Doors open, coffee/pastries
10:00 am Morning announcements
10:10 am Team formation
10:20 am Idea generation
11:00 am Begin coding!
12:30 pm Catered lunch
6:00 pm Pizza supper
9:00 pm Lab closes but teams are welcome to continue working
END DAY 2
Sunday, November 27th
9:30 am Doors open, coffee/pastries
10:00 am Continue coding!
12:30 pm Working lunch: Wrap up coding, create presentation/demo material
3:00 pm Project demos (max 5 minutes per team including questions from judges)
4:00 pm Judging
4:30 pm Winning teams announced, prizes awarded, certificates of participation for all students
4:45 pm Judges to lead feedback session for each team
END EVENT @ 5:00 PM

Project Suggestions

The following project suggestions might help those looking for some inspiration. Of course, you are free to (actually… encouraged to) develop whatever idea/project you want!

Task Scheduler:
— Based on availability of resources design a system that can intelligently identify a resource in nearest location and assign the task. The idea is that a manager should be able to assign 100s of tasks in one click and system identify and assign task based on some rule
In/Out of Office Presence System:
— A digital sign showing if a person was in or out of the office based on entries in their calendar system. The display should be optimized for easy reading and clean/intuitive layout. Imagine affixing a cheap Android tablet to a door.
Food ordering and delivery:
— Implement an intelligent system that can suggest restaurants and menu items based on user choices looking at the past history of orders. And then order the available and selected menu item with delivery system.
E-Signature tool:
— Design a simple e-signature tool that can capture a signature with a simple click on a box and communicate through validating emails.
Minesweeper game
— Implement minesweeper game using effective techniques of flagging and time clock intervals. Also provide ability for competitions of multiple users.
Online Book Rentals
— Design an online system where students can exchange books and can rent them from each other.

Judging Criteria

A small panel of technical judges will evaluate 5-minute demos and project code (no PowerPoint please!) against the criteria listed below. All teams must deploy their final code to a GitHub repository and their working solutions to a cloud environment.

Points Item Criteria
/5 Impressiveness/Creativity – Team delivers something interesting/impressive

– Creativity

– Originality

/5 Quality/Features – Does the software compile/execute?

– Do software crashes/bugs detract from the demo or prevent the presenting team from demoing?

– Are the features relevant for the intended purpose?

/5 Design – Does the solution make good use of Spring framework recommendations and standards?

– Does code make use of interfaces, abstract classes, inheritance and encapsulation?

– Any design pattern followed?

– Unit test coverage?

– Are exceptions handled properly?

– Is logging performed properly?

/5 Java Coding Conventions – Do variable names and function names follow naming conventions and standards?

– Are nested if-else statements restricted to not go beyond 2 levels deep?

– Are compound statements separated by parentheses and line breaks where applicable?

– Is indentation used properly and variable declarations done in the beginning of the method?

– Use of constants and static variables properly executed?

/20

Prizes

A total of $1000 will be distributed as cash prizes to winning teams.

Resources

The following resources will be helpful in advance of, and during, the hack-a-thon:

All teams are required to host their code in a GitHub environment for demo/judging purposes.

Event organizers will also recommend an ideal deployment environment (preferably cloud hosting) each team can use to host their code and final working solution but you are free to use whatever you want. Additional information will be posted here soon.

Nov 25 @ 1:45pm update

Please access the following GitHub repo for the event at https://github.com/suhaibqaiser/java-spring-hackathon. We have also created a java-gui-hack-tutorial-and-resources primer file [MS Word] to help set you on the right track.

Coaches

Faisal Abbas

Faisal is an experienced software engineer specializing in Natural Language Processing and working as a senior developer in QRA. He refers to himself as a polyglot programmer and technology agnostic. He has special knowledge working in web domain including mobile and cloud computing. He has worked on several big projects and took them to completion. He is a seasoned developer and also has served as instructors in Saint Mount University and at NSCC.

email: faisal at abbas.consulting

Divya Dola

Currently, Divya Dola is a Masters in Computer Science student at Dalhousie University that is in the process of finishing her academic project and graduating soon. Divya has worked for Chegg Inc. in the past as a Subject Matter Expert and is currently working on a research project with the Boeing company for task resumptions for 3D models on different sized touch devices. She is a Sun Microsystems trained Java Developer (now Oracle Corp.) during which she had gained extensive practical knowledge in developing Java based GUI applications using Spring, Hibernate and MySQL.

email: divyadola02 at gmail.com

Syed Shahzeb Hasnain

Syed Shahzeb Hasnain is a MACS candidate here at Dalhousie University. He is also a Microsoft Certified Professional who has extensive experience in the financial banking industry. Currently a Research Assistant and Project Manager for Dalhousie Entrepreneurship Society, architecture development has always been a passion for him and has worked with various projects dealing with cloud, mobile and web technologies.
Loves coffee, cookies, Coca Cola and code!

email: syed.hasnain at dal.ca

Waqas Javed

Waqas is an extremely motivated and enthusiastic Software Developer with 8 years of professional experience. He has a strong educational background in Computer Science and past work experiences in highly dynamic and fast paced environment has allowed him to excel in Java, JSP, Spring JSF, Dot Net and related web technologies.

He is currently working for IBM as a senior developer and team lead and actively using JSF and J2EE technologies to build a huge health based product. He also posses extensive knowledge in Android development and his solely-owned product “Bus App” is actively running and have hundreds of users all over North America.

email: waqas1.2000 at gmail.com

FAQ’s

What is the maximum team size?

The maximum team size is 4 people.

Can I form a team in advance?

Yes.

Can I register if I don’t have a team?

Yes. On Saturday morning, everyone who is not already part of a team can meet new people and form/join a team.

I’ve just started learning to program (in Java), should I participate?

Of course! The event is designed to help any student currently in a CS/technical degree learn more about (Java) coding/frameworks. If you are eager to challenge yourself, this event is perfect for you. Not only can you learn by exploring some of the resources listed above but you will also learn a lot about coding/Java in the Friday workshop and from other more experienced coders as part of your team and technical coaches at the event.

So teams can literally develop a software program on anything they want?

Yes! Hack-a-thons are the perfect opportunity to try out highly experimental, creative, and original ideas as you’re not constrained by academic or commercial requirements. The hack-a-thon judging criteria has been designed to support this mindset, your team’s ability to make good use of the Spring framework and good coding practices.

If you choose to develop an idea with some commercial potential, you will have the opportunity to receive additional technical and business support directly from ShiftKey Labs and its network of partners.

Can I participate remotely?

No. All participants must attend the event in-person and work directly with your team to actively develop the idea and software.

Do I need to bring my own laptop?

Yes. If you would like to use another computer, for whatever reason, there are 4 desktops (3 with Windows 10, 1 Ubuntu 16.10) with full administrative access available for use during the event.

Registration

Please use the following form to register. Online registration will close on Wednesday, November 23rd at 4:00 pm. All online registrants are guaranteed entry.

Late registrations will still be accepted in-person until Friday, November 25th at 5:30 pm (i.e. the start of the workshop) in ShiftKey Labs on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited so don’t delay!

IBM Bluemix Hackathon

ShiftKey Labs and IBM are organizing a hackathon over the weekend of March 5th and 6th using the IBM BlueMix platform where students have a chance to win a number of great prizes. Please note that posted information is subject to change based on emerging details about the event. If you would like to be updated on the latest details, please complete and submit the online registration form below. Registrants will be updated via email.

ShiftKey Labs and IBM are organizing a hack-a-thon over the weekend of March 5th and 6th using the IBM Bluemix platform where students have a chance to win a number of great prizes.

  • The event is open to any current post-secondary student in Nova Scotia
  • The goal of the event is to create a good idea and a basic prototype of the app/service by the end of the event
  • There will be a Bluemix introductory workshop in the week leading up to the event
  • All participants are required to bring their own laptops to the IBM Bluemix training session and hack-a-thon
  • There will be three different prize groups of $750 per winning team (therefore students are required to form teams based on these groups):
    • 1st/2nd year undergrads
    • 3rd/4th year undergrads
    • Graduate students
  • The data sets available for use at this event will be from the Nova Scotia Open Data Portal
  • The idea will be judged by both IBM and industry experts (criteria to follow)
  • IBM will provide coaches at the event that are familiar with the technical aspects of the Bluemix platform
  • IBM will provide free access codes to Bluemix for all hack-a-thon participants that are valid for a period of 6 months from the activation date

Schedule

DAY 1 (Saturday, March 5th)

Start Time Description
9:00 am Registration, mingle, coffee
9:30 am Opening remarks from the Honourable Labi Kousoulis (Minister of Internal Services), Andrew Rau-Chaplin (Dean, Faculty of Computer Science), and Stephen Perelgut (Business Development Manager, IBM Canada)
9:45 am IBM Kick-Off
10:00 am Idea pitches and team formation
10:15 Teams break out and start producing solutions
12:00 pm Lunch & Hack
3:00 pm Snack & Hack
6:00 pm Pizza, Pop, Snack & Hack
9:00 pm End of Day 1 (Lab closes but participants can continue coding if desired)

 

DAY 2 (Sunday, March 6th)

Start Time Description
9:00 am Doors open, coffee
11:00 am Pitch coaching available for teams looking for an edge
12:00 pm Lunch & Hack
1:00 pm Finalize submissions, teams check that their pitch will show
2:00 pm Judging: Each team has 10 mins to pitch followed by up to 5 mins of questions
(If there are a lot of teams, this time may be reduced)
3:00 pm Refreshments
3:30 pm Announcement of winners and feedback to participants

Registration Form

[ninja_forms id=150]


Supported by:

IBM-logo Shiftkey Labs Logo-white-bg 01 DAL FullMark-Blk

 

Smart Energy App Challenge

UPDATE: Please access the Smart Energy App Challenge Info Kit Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file for new information about the event.

Overview

The Smart Energy App Challenge (aka hackathon) will happen September 26-27, 2015, in Halifax. There will be $10,000 in cash prizes at stake! REGISTER ONLINE TODAY!

Participants will access a data set from Halifax Solar City to develop an app for the program’s customer base. Solar City is HRM’s program that finances solar hot water installations for residents.

The data sets have been prepped by researchers at NSCC and Dalhousie University and will be in CSV format. The data consists of about 20 measured sensors in solar thermal systems installed at residences throughout Halifax. The sensors measure temperature, flow rate, and solar flux. Data has been recorded at a one-minute time step over a period of one year at 50 locations. In addition, metadata is provided for each house, including postal code, house size, solar system details, etc.

Semi-finalists will be named at the hackathon, with winners selected and announced at a demo and awards event. Semi-finalists will have the opportunity to test and refine their apps with simulated real-time data at NSCC prior to awards night.

Hackathon Eligibility and Rules

  • Participants must be a Nova Scotia resident and over 18 years old.
  • All participants must appear in person.
  • You own what you create! All teams retain full ownership of what they have created during the Smart Energy App Challenge.
  • Coding starts at the event – this is what the hackathon is all about!

Judging Criteria

  • 10% Presentation – Did the team clearly communicate their idea? Did they do a good job of turning their idea into an app?
  • 40% Innovation/Impact – Is the app really innovative or a twist on an existing one? Does it have the potential to change user behavior or make an impact on resource use?
  • 25% User Experience – Is the app easy to use? Does it provide good user experience? Does the UI look good?
  • 25% Functionality – Does it work? Is everything fully implemented? Does it offer a lot of functionality or just do one thing? Did the team focus on important features, given the hackathon’s time restrictions?

 

Location

ShiftKey Labs
Dalhousie University
Goldberg Computer Science Building
6050 University Avenue, Room 426
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3H 4R2

Please visit the Innovacorp Smart Energy Challenges event page for more information.

SMU Hack-A-Week

This year, on the opening day of the Saint Mary’s University Hack-A-Week, Microsoft is hosting their first IoT Discovery Day! Learn how to build the Internet of Things (IoT). We provide the hardware, the software, and the training. You bring the ideas.

We even have a track just for teachers to help them learn how to help current and future students thrive in a tech world.

More details on the Microsoft IoT Discovery Day.

Here is a sneak peak at some of our prizes for top contestants. There are lots more gadgets and even internship positions from SimplyCast!

First Place Second Place Third Place
University and Open 2 iPad minis 2 Android tablets 2 Chromecasts
Microsoft Student 2 Surface 3 Tablets 2 HP Stream 7 Tablets with Office 365 Personal 2 Intel Compute Sticks

For more information on this event, please visit the SMU Hack-A-Week website (address in Organizer section below).