Sydney Hackathon was a roaring success with 32 contestants seeing through the full 24 hours in 11 teams creating a total 13 applications on Elsevier’s SciVerse platform. Contestants ranged from professionals to students, undergraduate and phd students from the University of Sydney and University of New South wales and one contestant coming as far as Brisbane, Queensland, to participate.
Registrations began at 11 am with a steady stream of competitors getting settled in a modified School of IT Boardroom. With ‘chill-out’ zones outside in the winter garden, equipped with couches and xBox games, fully catered meals, our own ‘Sydney Hackathon Cafe’ and the Lecture theatre for presentations, there was always something for contestants to do.
At 3pm Brett Morgan, Nick Johnson and Stephanie Borgman, from Google’s Sydney office, gave a presentation to contestants in a break-out session about Google’s Blogger API and App Engine hosting platform. They were also kind enough to add in limited edition merchandise for all 4 winner prize packs and a free ‘Android’ T-shirt for all contestants.
After the Google presentation each team pitched their idea before buckling down for the rest of the competition. While the chill-out zone, food and coffee helped keep energy levels high, come 3am there were a few taking naps in various locations around the School of IT before the final morning sprint!
There were 11 applications presented at the end of the Hackathon and the applications ranged from games, search tools, professor genealogy tools to collaborative commenting of journal articles. The applications were web gadgets that embedded on Elsevier’s SciVerse platform, a platform used by 15 million researchers and academics.
Elsevier’s development and product team, who flew out from America and China to attend and help with the Hackathon, noted the quality and depth of some of the applications created in the 24 hours. The judges also commented on the quality of the applications presented.
The judges were a range of academic and recognised industry figures. Lee Berry, a systems architect at IBM, Anne Bartlett-Bragg, managing director of Asia Pacific region for Headshift, John Shipp from the University of Sydney Library, Dr Bo Yin from NICTA and Rachel Sieff from the New South Wales Department of Industry and Innovation.
In the end only three teams could be awarded the prizes with one team winning both a prize and the People’s Choice Award;
- 1st place went to Presentify: Tim Dawborn, Seb Pauka and James Alexander, all students at the University of Sydney, created an application that turns any journal article on Elsevier’s SciVerse platform into an HTML5 presentation, automatically filling in the presentation with content section titles, images and charts and some summary text from the article.
- 2nd place went to SciPlay: Sam Thorogood, School of IT Alumni, and Nicky Ringland, postgraduate at the School of IT, came second with a game that quizzes users on the SciVerse platform about the journal article their currently reading. Users can then earn points for each correctly answered quiz that increases their ranking on the platform.
- 3rd place went to Macadeima; a search and work flow aid that displays relevant journal articles and videos to users browsing auricles on the SciVerse platform. It also allowed for users to add comments about the article and start a discussion without leaving the page.
- People’s Choice award was given to SciPlay. The People’s Choice was was voted on by the contestants.
Elsevier’s SciVerse product manager Ben Rubin and systems developer Scott Robbins, both who were also present for the entire hackathon, expressed interest in all the winning applications and some of the other non-winning applications and will be contacting the contestants over the coming week about further development and launching the applications on the SciVerse platform.
During the competition there was a live twitter wall, that was used for quick messages and links for contestants to use, Facebook was constantly updated with photos from the competition and our on-site barista and catering made sure people had the fuel to keep on going.
Overall the Hackathon organisers, University of Sydney academics, Elsevier team and the judges were extremely impressed by the creativity and quality of the applications presented at the end of the Sydney Hackathon.
Sydney Hackathon was great event that brought together developers and professionals in great environment. A lot of the competitors were already expressing ideas of how they will prepare for next years Sydney Hackathon.
Great photos on Facebook can be found here. Videos and photo albums of the event will be posted on this website later this week.
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