Category "Hackathon"

gluoNNet and CERN openlab organise global online hackathon, accelerating remote collaboration

Event, Hackathon

The main goal of gluoNNet’s collaboration with CERN openlab is exploring the application of quantum computing algorithms to particle track reconstruction, as well as to industrial applications, such as the analysis of aviation data. For the CERN Webfest 2020 however, gluoNNet and CERN openlab joined forces to create an extraordinary online event.

The CERN Webfest, an annual hackathon based on open web technologies, took place from 26 to 29 June 2020. Under the motto of ‘working together apart: accelerating collaboration’, over 400 people from 75 different countries signed up in order to investigate new ways of remote collaboration. Not being able to take place at CERN in Geneva as usual due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the Webfest itself had to be re-invented: very much in the spirit of the event’s motto, CERN openlab and gluoNNet established an online hackathon on a global scale. gluoNNet’s know-how regarding online hackathons and the related technologies combined with CERN openlab’s strong community and technical resources made the CERN Webfest 2020 with its over 30 submitted innovations a great success.

Please find the full article on the CERN Webfest 2020 here.

DATE: Jul 3, 2020
AUTHOR: Hans Baechle

gluoNNet backs once again swiss-wide online hackathon battling Covid-19


Under the patronage of the Swiss Government and supported by 120 partners, the #VersusVirus initiative is one of the biggest citizen-science projects in Switzerland. The initiative’s online hackathons and its Incubator programme foster projects which tackle problems entailed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – a crisis that affects all of our lives. All projects contribute to the common good and are owned by its creators – the participants of the #VersusVirus online events. The latest event – the #VersusVirus May Hackathon – took place from 29 May to 01 June.

During 48 hours, over 200 participants supported by 50 mentors were working on one particular challenge they had picked before the start of the hackathon. There were 57 challenges to choose from; each challenge incorporated a Covid-19 related problem from the following categories: Protection of Risk Groups, Education, Dissemination Prevention, After the Crisis, Trustable Data vs. Fake News, Support & Solidarity, and Economic Impact. At the end of the Hackathon, the teams were meant to present their solutions to an international jury.

The participants came from all parts of Switzerland’s society. As a result, the hackers brought a huge variety of skill sets to the table, which gave the teams excellent preconditions to work on their complex challenges, approaching them from different perspectives. Furthermore, an international team of mentors, coming from various domains, assisted the teams with their expertise. Additionally, there were several workshops, teaching basic hackathon knowledge. In order to guarantee a smooth workflow, the #VersusVirus organising team provided the technological infrastructure; including the hackathon app which was co-developed by gluoNNet.

Eventually, 19 solutions were presented to the jury. “Being on the jury was a difficult assignment. Particularly when you have 19 excellent and inspiring submissions with regard to their quality, depth and spirit of innovation. They all deserve to be winners “ said Ashish Shah, Director of the Division of Country Programmes at the International Trade Centre and co-chair of the jury. During the hackathon’s closing ceremony, the jury announced seven highlighted projects, awarding them with 1000CHF each. The highlighted projects provided smart solutions to the challenges. For instance, one project aims to create an e-learning platform for elderly people, another one targets the safe usage of public spaces using heat maps, whereas another project provides a virtual marketplace for artists to connect, schedule, and pay for live performances and events.

The whole event was accompanied by moderated sessions such as the kick-off, updates from the organising team, or the closing ceremony.

These main events of the hackathon were streamed live using a tool developed by gluoNNet. The tool allows its user to broadcast a Zoom meeting on Youtube and make editorial modifications such as lower thirds or displaying multiple frames in real-time.

If you want to find out more, check versusvirus.ch/may-hackathon.

DATE: Jun 15, 2020
AUTHOR: Hans Baechle

VersusVirusCH – COVID-19 unifies Switzerland

Event, Hackathon

In the spirit of prior VersusVirus hackathons that took place all over the world, VersusVirusCH started during the weekend of 03.04. – 05.04.2020. More than 5000 people from all parts of Switzerland’s society joined this online hackathon to find solutions against COVID-19, and how to live with it. One of the outcomes was the vanishing of the “Röstigraben” during this weekend, normally dividing Switzerland into a French-speaking and German-speaking part.

As COVID-19 wreaks havoc, volunteers from ImpactHub Switzerland around Christoph Birkholz and Felix Stähli aimed to combine the strengths and creativity of Swiss people in finding solutions against COVID-19.

The decision to host a Swiss-wide online hackathon has been spontaneously made two weeks prior to the event. “We had the idea to initiate a Swiss-wide online hackathon already in November,” says Connie Low from ImpactHub Basel, “and when we were facing COVID-19 this has been the natural choice”. In addition, the organisers benefited from findings and insights of the VersusVirus hackathons that took place in other countries, such as Poland and Germany. gluoNNet supported the organisation team because of the unique portfolio of knowledge exchange and huge hackathon organising experiences.

Röstigraben does not exist anymore

“On this weekend we’ve torn down the Röstigraben,” says Laura Oligati with sparkling eyes. But it was more than this. One person volunteered in translating the webpage content into Romantsch, the fourth official Swiss language – it was important to him having all four languages, representing Switzerland as a whole.

More than 5000 participants and 500 mentors formed over 600 teams in seven categories and created a vibrant atmosphere. In helpful “How to” videos, the participants received useful information regarding their submission. The artist Sketch4Good summarized the tasks in beautiful sketches. Alain Berset, head of the Swiss Federal Council, gave an interview to develop sustainable ideas and partnerships. “I’d like to cordially thank you for having taken the time this weekend investing all your skills in finding innovative solutions in the current crisis,” says Isabelle Moret, president of the national Federal Council and one of the hackathon’s mentors, during the closing ceremony.

A jury involving distinguished members from science, medicine, and economy awarded three highlights of the seven sections at the end of the VersusVirusCH hackathon. Additionally, all participants were invited to apply for additional funding as well as to join an Incubator.

VersusVirusCH continues

Two of gluoNNet’s co-founders, Daniel Dobos and Karolos Potamianos, are involved in the Incubator as well, sharing their rich expertise with the other members from the former organising team. Everybody’s exceptional contribution throughout the weeks before, during the hackathon weekend, and in the follow up even led to a mention in Forbes magazine.

Even in these dark times where COVID-19 shows its power of destruction, there is a lot of creativity – events like VersusVirusCH illustrate this evidently. These hackathons are an excellent example on how an innovative community successfully addresses challenges.

Shaunak Sirodaria and his group from Pune/India participated and want to adapt this amazing format for an Indian version of VersusCirusCH.


DATE: Apr 25, 2020
AUTHOR: Kristiane Novotny

THE Port – Shine a light in the dark for a better world – Draft

Event, Hackathon, , , ,

THE Port humanitarian hackathon took place at CERN’s IdeaSquare during 10.10.2019 – 13.10.2019. During less than 72 hours, people coming from humanitarian sciences, physics and other fields met for exchanging knowledge and aiming to solve current issues in the humanitarian sector.

Weeks before this yearly event took place, every team met remotely and discussed about ideas to come as close as possible to reach their goal during that limited time. The teams learned that it is not only important to develop working prototypes, but that it is more important to convince policy makers of their ideas so that they come true.

Two teams have been exceptional: Remotely Green aiming to reduce the carbon footprint by establishing a participation on remote conferences and Reego trying to reduce car bribery in Africa.

Reego: Car registration against corruption

The CERN cleaner Mussa Cande had the idea to reduce corruption during the process of car registration, which won the humanitarian prize at the CERN Webfest 2019. This prize granted him access to this hackathon.

A car is essential because there is no public transport system and hospitals are not easy to reach in case of an emergency in his home country Guinea Bissau. But a car registration involves a lacking transparency in issuing unique license plates or in getting a valid insurance due to bribery in some African countries.

Solving these problems has meant to address Mussa’s mission from a holistic perspective. Not only technical aspects are vital but creating trust in the public, identifying stakeholders and persuading decision-makers of the benefits of a legal car registration are fundamental. A team of behavioural and communication experts as well as a software engineer supported Mussa by developing strategies to achieve these goals during the hackathon.

Equipped with the findings of this 2.5-day hackathon, Mussa presented his idea and a working prototype of his application at the African Union in Addis Ababa. He recently founded Reego Association, an NGO, named after the project’s name.

Remotely Green: A hitchhiker’s guide to conferences

Remotely Green’s vision is a tool for remote conferences by providing the best possible overview before an event, giving a dynamical overview during the event and summarising learnings and interactions afterwards. “Their concept is a hitchhiker’s guide to conferences, where you can tailor your experience uniquely” says Karolos Potamianos, ATLAS physicist and Co-Founder of THE Port, when he thinks about the team that consists of LHC physicists and software engineers. Another appealing advantage of this idea is a reduction of each attendees’ carbon footprint.

“Their concept is a hitchhiker’s guide to conferences, where you can tailor your experience uniquely”

Karolos Potamianos, gluoNNet CEO

But Remotely Green recommends joining physical conferences, as well. “We aim to get the best of two worlds – a hybrid event with a physical conference including virtual meetings and virtual follow-ups” specifies Nina Laribi, one of Remotely Green’s core members. A survey lead by the team revealed that the main reason why people attend conferences are networking aspects, such as meeting and discussing in person. This means to ensure spoken and written contributions. Remotely Green proposes transcriptions of talks and discussions as well as summarising every conversation by a chat tool. The original idea of this feature traces back to a project of the CERN Webfest 2019.

Further development took place during the 24-hour long Climathon in November in Geneva. With these findings, Remotely Green has been selected for the Circular Economy Incubator 2020 that offers funding and mentoring to perfect the project in January.

“We aim to get the best of two worlds – a hybrid event with a physical conference including virtual meetings and virtual follow-ups”

Nina Laribi, Core member of Remotely Green

Their idea gets even more important, since the corona virus started to spread over the world and conferences are cancelled and hold remotely, such as the Dialogue no. 2 in the Road to Bern, in which Remotely Green tests its pilot as a networking session.

DATE: Oct 21, 2019
AUTHOR: Kristiane Novotny