DkIT students from the Department of Computing and Mathematics recently took part in AIB DataHack, an initiative aimed at 3rd Level computing students to help build the future through the power of IT. The overall prize fund for the competition was €8000. In total, sixty-three teams entered into the Datathon or Hackathon, comprising of 126 students from 13 different Universities and Institutes of Technology, Supported by the DkIT ACM Student Chapter, there was a strong showing from the Institute with five teams participating in the AIB Bankcentre in Dublin. In the Datathon the students were tasked with solving a problem using a large dataset provided, while the Hackathon entrants were asked to build an app, judged by two criteria – Quality and Awesomeness! Jonathan McCrea, host of Futureproof on Newstalk, and Aoibheann Bird from the Insight Centre for Analytics joined the AIB judging panel to assess the entries.
Ronan Prenty, a fourth-year student from the Level 8 Computing programme in DkIT, took part in the Hackathon alongside classmate Audreen Soh. Audreen explains, “We were amazed at the setup provided by AIB on the day of the event. The level of competition was extremely high amongst the 126 competitors. Thankfully, the free food, drinks, goodies and spot prizes throughout the long day kept us going, along with the good music and the many games we got to play!” In the Hackathon, the participants were challenged to develop an idea that could enhance society. Ronan details, “Our idea was to bring good to communities within Ireland through crowd funding – we created a cross platform app that worked on any browser and could be installed on any device as an app. People within communities could pitch their ideas of something within the community that required funding and at the end of every month AIB could shortlist these ideas for people within that community to donate/vote on. Each vote would cost the user €2 with the possibility of AIB or other big companies to sponsor votes. Essentially, this would increase AIB’s Corporate Social Responsibility within these communities”. They coined their innovative App, ‘Community Together’ which allowed users to post and vote on causes that needed attention within their communities.
In the preliminary round of judging, the contestants were separated into multiple groups of four teams, each team having to pitch their idea and product to developers and staff from AIB. From there, it was narrowed down to seven teams in the finals where Ronan and Audreen pitched their concept to the judging panel. The Dragons Den setting allowed the duo to showcase their creation, and provided the opportunity for the judges to get a hands-on experience of their application. The standard of competition was very high but ‘Community Together’ impressed the judges sufficiently to be placed second overall, with students from NUIM claiming the top honours.
Congratulations to Ronan and Audreen, and indeed to all students from the DkIT ACM Student Chapter who represented the Institute so well when taking part in the DataHack.