hackaTUM 2021: Talents, Technique and Ambitions

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More than 1.100 applications, held online for the second time

hackaTUM 2019
hackaTUM 2019
Workshop, hackaTUM 2019
hackaTUM 2019

By Doris Herrmann

The first official hackaTUM "hackaTUM" organized by the Department of Informatics was held in 2016 with 250 participants. In 2021 more than 1.100 hackers signed up for the sixth annual programmer competition at the Department of Informatics, which was held online for the second time due to the corona pandemic on November 19-21. 20 well-known international companies active in the field of IT served as sponsors, providing financial support and great prizes such as brand-new iPhone and iPads, Nintendo Switch consoles, DJI Mavic Quadrocopters and much more.

The participants demonstrated their skills from Friday through Saturday with 10 "challenges" specified by the companies, as well as through a “wild track” challenge, in which the participants could choose the topic. A total of 140 projects were submitted. To cite one example, the participants were tasked with developing an app that enables individuals or an organization to use technology to improve sustainability management or accelerate the “sustainability journey”. Or young IT wizards were tasked with finding new ways in which the presentation of traditional dashboards and reports in self-explanatory animated stories can be optimized for the Gen Z decision makers of tomorrow. Those who are more enthusiastic about the issue of future mobility were able to attract attention with great ideas related to the planned 2022 launch of the Munich RoboTaxis service. Apart from the challenging topics, the hackaTUM also offered four workshops that helped the young hackers broaden their horizons within the framework of IoT solutions, the Microsoft Azure platform, security architectures or the development of autonomous vehicles.

The companies recognized 20 teams (see further below), plus there were two additional honors. The jury, which consisted of Prof. Florian Matthes (Chair of Software Engineering for Business Information Systems, sebis) and Prof. Jörg Ott (BMW-endowed Chair of Connected Mobility) designated the “Fitzels” team as the overall winner. The members of the team – Jonas Jürß, Maria Pospelova, Sébastien Letzelter and Almo Sutedjo – want to use an entertaining and sociable game to solve trash problems and ensure the health and well-being of the players. On its website the team describes how they developed the game, the challenges they faced, what areas they are especially proud of and what they are planning next. The website contains a link to the game.

The people’s award went to the "MetaDrive” team, which included Ali Rabeh, Egor Spirin, Gilles Tanson and Raul Abdurakhmanov. The four hackers created a website that simulates a real environment in which RoboTaxis can be ordered in the center of Munich and allows you to observe the routes of the automated vehicles and how they are distributed. Users can even experience a virtual taxi drive. This team is also sharing its experiences with the development of the app on a website, where you can also find a link to try out the app.

“Digitalization is major challenge for many companies,” explains Prof. Florian Matthes, who is not only a member of the jury, but whose chair also provides the organization team for the hackaTUM every year. This year’s team included doctoral candidates Oleksandra Klymenko, Nektarios Machner and Tim Schopf, as well as Dr. Daniel Braun. “The companies are seeking young computer specialists to help them develop innovative business models and digital services,” according to Prof. Matthes. “From the point of view of our department, providing the space and time for the participants to gather together is an attractive offering for everyone involved because it leads to even more creative interaction and synergy effects.” The online format was also well received according to Oleksandra Klymenko. “The participants were especially enthusiastic about the terrific communications and the atmosphere, despite the online format,” said the doctoral candidate in summing up the feedback. “The surprises that we prepared beforehand were also well received, such as a virtual version of our Department of Informatics that we created in gather.town to enable interactive communications and networking.” So that the participating hacker teams can perform at a high level at home and mobilize their strength again when performance ebbs, the organization team was active in advance. 600 goodie packages – including small gifts and a total of 200 kilograms of snacks and 150 liters of energy drinks – were sent via postal mail to the hackaTUM participants at no charge. Lieferando coupons were also provided. For the organization team, the extensive efforts involved in preparing and carrying out the hackathon, which they did during their free time, paid off. As always, the event presented an opportunity for the participants to establish contact with various well-known companies, make new friends and share new ideas. “Of course it takes a lot of effort to organize a hackathon on the side,” says Oleksandra Klymenko. “But this kind of event offers all of the participants more than just a chance to code. It’s also about ideas, fun and team spirit.”







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