Technology: It was a hard day’s night for these software developers.
Photo: LaLa La Photo
Some came to test an idea, some to keep their skills sharp, during Luxembourg’s first-ever hackathon. “Game of Code”, was held from 8-9 April, attracting around 130 IT programmers and designers from around the country and further afield.
In teams of three or four, made up of friends or colleagues, participants were asked to develop an original web application tackling one of the two official challenges: ‘Tree of Life’, designed by Docler Holding and focused on super artificial intelligence, or ‘Open Data Challenge: Smart Mobility’, designed by Digital Lëtzebuerg and offering teams access to previously locked mobility-related datasets.
The teams faced a variety of roadblocks and challenges, from staying awake to solving technical issues at lightning speed. Miklos Boros, part of a Hungarian team of developers from Docler Holding, said: “The biggest challenge was to have an idea of what to build.” His team only came up with their idea of Robot Football, where the computer learns the rules of the sport to play against human opponents, once the clock had started counting down, he said.
Other teams came up with a concept in advance, such as the team of three Coder Dojo, who were the youngest participants at only 12 years of age. “We had several weeks of preparation,” said Linnea Cadogan. “As we knew it was not for amateurs but professionals.” But despite only joining their local coding group between six months and two years ago, the team impressed judges with their interactive map of dog waste dispensers, picking up fourth prize in the Open Data challenge.
Many of the participants enjoyed the novelty of the time-limited creative challenge. “Ordinarily, we work on long-term projects,” explained Emile Kroeger, a Paris-based game designer on the Aldebaran team, which was programming one of the company’s robots to compose and perform a song in real-time. “It’s the opposite to be doing something crazy like this.”
Christof Torres, part of a team of University of Luxembourg students, Devnull, developing a traffic dispersion game, agreed: “The core part of the competition is the innovative element. You need to be creative and take new steps.”
Other participants also gained new insight into the work of their colleagues: “I now understand that being a designer is a real job,” said Cédric Morin, an IT project manager on the ING team, with a smile. The team took home second prize for their wellness app.
24 hour event
Other big winners, announced by the jury of IT experts after the long night and day of programming, were the Editus Luxembourg team for their artificial intelligence app The Snake and the Etix Kru team with their e-learning app EduCity.
Organised by IT One, the 24-hour coding event was held at the Geesseknäppchen Forum, where participants were provided with workspaces, a sleeping area, a games area to unwind, and several food trucks parked outside.
Following the success of this inaugural edition, Docler Holding has already announced a 2017 repeat. So get ready to code.