Hermes Hackathon

by Vali

During the last weekend of November (24th – 25th of November) we were proudly sponsors of Hermes Hackathon organized by Hermes Society (Societatea Hermes), the student’s organization inside the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science from UBB. We thought it was the perfect opportunity to get in the middle of the action, meeting so many students with fresh perspective.

The purpose of the hackathon was to develop an application in 24 hours, on one of the following themes: Education, Smart City, Smart Agriculture and Health and Lifestyle. At this edition of the hackathon 17 teams registered, each one of them choosing a theme to work on. Beside the students, there were present at least two mentors, for feedback and support. Our colleagues Dora and Vali were there in this precise role, ready to provide strong input and help.

It was a great experience

as Vali describes it below:
I was very surprised by the fact that even though 11 teams chose Education as their theme, with some ideas repeating between them, the end results were not even close to each other. For example, 2 ideas that we heard several times proposed by the teams were about the choices that high school pupils have to face when they have to look for their future career and about the organization of study groups for students on different subjects they encounter at university or school. For the first idea we saw 2 different approaches: the first one (and the winning one)
was to connect high schoolers with students that are at various faculties/universities and talk about why they chose that faculty/university. Also, they offer the possibility for students to earn some money by offering mediations on various subjects to the same high schoolers. The second approach (which got a mention from the jury) was to use a chatbot to solve a quiz and recommend the best faculty/university based on the answers received in the quiz and the feedback given by the students to the various faculties/universities.

An important aspect to mention is the presence of two 1-person teams that managed to achieve impressing results over the 24 hours. One of the teams created a system that uses artificial intelligence to improve the timing of the semaphores from various intersections across Cluj-Napoca. In this platform a user creates a package with books, tutorials or videos that he or she used to learn a specific skill and he/she recommends to others to try.
But, in order to be able to have the best solution and not to work one something that will be scratch after a few hours of working, the teams needed some validations from the mentors for their ideas. As a result, each team had a 1 on 1 meeting with the mentor team to expose and improve their idea based on the feedback received. Also, when needed, the mentors went to the teams to answer questions or propose some solutions when the teams encountered some problems or bottlenecks.

This Hackathon, as Valentin said, was for us a new experience

that strengthened our beliefs about teamwork, collaboration, strong minds, and fresh ideas. We saw various technologies, different approaches, distinctive ideas, and creative minds, but what we liked the most was that regarding all this, the students were so involved and curious and with the help of the mentors, they shaped amazing projects.

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