Charlotte’s premier tech event, HACKATHONclt, a 24-hour Big Data hack fest, successfully celebrated its 5th year anniversary with 700 hackers and participants descending on Discovery Place Science on March 24-25, 2017.
Participants were given 24 hours to develop new analytical solutions to assist with one or all of the following challenges Big Brothers Big Sisters faces currently:
- Algorithms that find more successful matches of Bigs and Littles with a focus on predicting duration, ensuring child safety, and increasing retention
- Simplifying the process to sign up for mentors (with a focus on social validation)
- Recommending additional ‘out of the box’ solutions related to other issues mentioned by the event beneficiary (recruiting male BIGs, retention, etc.)
The judging panel for this year was comprised of Donna Dunlap (CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters), Dr. Tim Chartier (Analytics Expert & Professor, Davidson College), Keva Walton (Charlotte Chamber), and Abhishek Mehta (CEO of Tresata).
Candidates were judged based on scalability, algorithmic power, creativity and overall presentation.
Winners were selected from a shortlist of 10 submissions (3 from each category: HACK, CODE, and FREEstyle + 1 wildcard submission):
- FREEstyle category winner ($2,000 cash prize): a centralized communication app which incorporated social validation and enabled supervision of all digital encounters by BBBS, by Team Pandaless (Dmitry Pavluk, Sagar Nandu, and Pratik Doshi).
- CODE category winner ($5,000 cash prize): a native app intended to reduce friction to entry for donors, volunteers (Bigs), and parents and enabled these parties to interact using 21st century paradigms, by Team AggiesACM (Chris Cannon, D’Ante Barnes, and Jaekwon Smith).
- HACK category winner ($10,000 cash prize): a fully functional predictive application that utilized neural networks, a heuristic for success using three measures, and a gale shapely algo to rank prospective bigs, by Team UNCCACM (Kyle Brown, J. Parker Garrison, and Jacob Raymond).
A fourth prize, a Segway, was also awarded to the most altruistic member of the Hacker Community: Trenton Samuda. Trenton received this award for assisting fellow hackers, despite this being a competition.
“We could not be more thrilled with the level of talent and participation this year – what an incredible way to celebrate year five,” said Brittany Box, Organizer of HACKATHONclt. “The hackers continue to raise the bar and what they created again this year way nothing short of impressive.”