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Hack to the Future: UTS MDSI students continue their winning Hackathon run

L-R: Patricia Kavinski, Duhita Khadepau, Amey Soo and Alex Scriven accept first prize at Unearthed Sydney 2017
L-R: Patricia Kavinski, Duhita Khadepau, Amey Soo and Alex Scriven accept first prize at Unearthed Sydney 2017

In summary:

  • The 54 hour long event challenged participants to develop prototype solutions to data challenges in the mining and resource sector.

 For the second year running, UTS students undertaking the Master of Data Science and Innovation (MDSI) degree have achieved the ultimate success at the Unearthed Sydney hackathon, winning first prize in the weekend-long data challenge.

Unearthed Sydney is a 54-hour open innovation hackathon event featuring real data challenges from leading global resource companies. The UTS MDSI team joined a host of developers, engineers, data scientists, entrepreneurs and start-ups from Sydney to formulate solutions to challenges presented by companies like Rio Tinto and Boart Longyear.

The winning team of MDSI students – named “Perry’s Fan Club” – took on Rio Tinto’s “Carryback” challenge, developing an algorithmic prototype to improve the efficiency of mining truck load transportation.

“Normally, when a mine truck dumps its load, some sensors are fired to determine whether there is any ‘carryback’ material left in the truck,” explained MDSI student Alex Scriven.

“In 30% of cases, these sensors fail, so we worked to devise a solution to prevent trucks from carrying material back and forth. ‘Carryback’ causes additional wear and tear on the trucks and makes transportation less efficient.”

The four-strong MDSI team – made up of Patricia Kavinski, Amey Soo, Duhita Khadepau and Alex Scriven –  spent over forty hours working on the project, from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon (August 25- 27).

“We processed several datasets, but the challenge was in the architecting, formatting and stitching together of the data with the business problems.”

At the end of the event, “Perry’s Fan Club” took home a $2500 cash price; over $3000 in Amazon Web Services credits; and the opportunity to present at the Asia-Pacific’s International Mining Exhibition in Sydney at the end of this month.  The “Perry’s Fan Club” team exceeded their 2016 efforts, when they placed second behind fellow UTS MDSI team “Data Cake”.

“It was great to have our hard work rewarded,” said Scriven.

“Each member of our team worked really hard and contributed a lot to the final product, so it was an amazing shared feeling of achievement!”

The UTS Master of Data Science and Innovation’s academic team has successfully integrated data challenges and Hackathons into its curriculum, providing students with invaluable opportunities for authentic real-world learning and industry networking.  MDSI students have consistently performed well in Hackathons since the degree’s inception three years ago.

MDSI Course Director Associate Professor Theresa Anderson was immensely proud of the students’ efforts.

“This winning team have been working together for more than a year in data challenges and iLabs and have hit upon a successful formula for combining their data science talents. They exemplify the best of the MDSI’s transdisciplinary approach and demonstrate that data science is a hugely rewarding team sport.”

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