Computer Science News Archive

UCL FIndS organises City Hakathon

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Hard at work - coding


Organised by the UCL Financial Industry Series (UCL FIndS) in partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Financial Services Knowledge Transfer Network, SWIFT and Level39 Technology Accelerator at Canary Wharf, the Hackin’ The City Hackathon brought together 55 students from a dozen of top universities in the UK to pit their skills in a round-the-clock hackathon to design and develop an application over 24 hours.

This year’s theme “Global Citizenship” challenged students to create an application to solve world problems through the use of technology. The wide domain enabled students to brainstorm and explore the vast possibilities, coming out with very creative solutions. In order to promote creativity and encourage teams to network and speak to people from other teams, mini-challenges were set. Some of the challenges involve teams working together with other teams to create videos and photo montages. The challenges required students to be creative, solving problems in an unconventional way.

Sponsor engineers and business mentors acted as rotating mentors for the 12 teams at the recently opened Level39 Technology Accelerator at One Canada Square. Each team attacked the theme of “Global Citizenship” differently. The ideas eventually decided on were spread over several different world problems, looking at each with a different perspective and ultimately presenting a very varied selection of projects overall. A wide range of skillsets gave different contributions and it was very interesting to see how the teams handled the trade-off between project complexity and its timely execution.

“We have done 13 thought leadership events this year and spent two months of planning this coding challenge Hackin’ the City. We aimed to bring together elite UK students to design applications to solve world problems through the use of technology. In a very short time and with minimal resources, these brilliant students managed to come up with very innovative solutions, which was very remarkable and impressive”, said Donald Lawrence, chairman of UCL Financial Industry Series and lecturer in capital markets and risk.

The atmosphere in the room remained electric for the entire duration of the event with every team showing impressive team dynamics despite the fact that many developers had signed up as individuals and were strangers to each other at the start of the event. The ability to work sufficiently well with a team so as to take an idea and develop it to completion in the space of 24 hours was both rare and admirable and it was pleasing to see every team succeed in this regard. “We are really excited to be working with UCL FIndS in hosting Hackin' The City, bringing together some of the brightest and most creative technical geniuses in the UK together with our neighbours in Financial Services. It is really exciting to be here feeling the energy and being so close to such a diverse group of people collaboratively working, despite the intellectual intensity.”, said Claire Cockerton, Head of Innovation Programmes at Level39.

The event tested not only programming skills but teamwork, presentation, stamina and endurance. Many of the participants had not met their fellow team members before the Saturday morning brainstorming sessions that kicked off the event. With the help of an unlimited supply of sugar and caffeine teams were able to stay productive into the early hours perfecting their project for the presentations on Sunday morning.

Posted 22 Apr 13 16:22