More than 250 people join in the hackathon run by EPFL students

More than 250 people join in the hackathon run by EPFL students

13.11.17 – The second LauzHack took place this past weekend at EPFL. Run entirely by EPFL students, the design event drew participants from around the world intent on solving new-technology challenges.

“I’m impressed by how fast the participants solved the challenges they faced. Personally I think that what you’ve been able to achieve in just one weekend is truly inspiring!” EPFL President Martin Vetterli lavished praise on the projects presented on Sunday afternoon at the end of LauzHack 2017. This event, which was being held for the second time, pulled in over 250 participants from 24 countries, including 90 EPFL students. They split into 70 groups and spent the entire weekend developing highly creative projects in the hall of the BC building.

This event is unique in that it is run entirely by EPFL students. “There are 12 of us, all volunteers. Most of us are studying computer science, but not all of us, and we’ve even got some PhD students,” says Tatiana Nikitina, a member of the organizing committee. The students began putting together the hackathon back in June. “It took a lot of effort, but it’s taught us to work as a team and divide up responsibilities. The hackathon was great because it showed the participants what sort of projects are interesting from an industry perspective rather than just from an academic one.”

The teams could work on a challenge of their own making or chose from the ones the event sponsors came up with. At the closing ceremony, a panel of judges composed of EPFL professors and industry representatives chose the top three projects. The winning group, the Motion Drawing team, developed an easy way of drawing on a computer with gestures. The group in second place came up with a new technique for using augmented reality to display screen interfaces or to change the appearance of the user on the screen. The group finishing third, the Clickbait Killer team, had a project using artificial intelligence to make summaries of articles for a reader to consult without clicking on their links. Several teams also won various challenges given by the sponsors of the day.

The hackathon also hosted a girls-only workshop on Saturday, run by the association GirlsCoding. The aim was to introduce programming to girls aged 9 to 12 and to encourage them to take an interest in technology-related fields. Participants in this mini LauzHack were able to try their hand at cryptography and programming problems.

When the event came to a close on Sunday evening, the organizers promised another round in 2018.

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Author: Sarah Aubort
Picture: Alain Herzog