Creative hackathon solutions demonstrate value of NCRIS and CSIRO data

Last month NCRIS and CSIRO data providers, together with the University of Melbourne, hosted the Melbourne Science Hackfest. Developers, data librarians, data technologists, researchers, data scientists, students and anyone else interested in getting stuck into NCRIS and CSIRO data, had the rare opportunity to work with data experts from across the country and overseas, and with data from Australia’s biggest data generators and providers.

Participants analysed, mashed, combined, visualised, app’ed, API’ed and came up with some wonderful products using the data from CSIRO and NCRIS projects TERN, ANDS, NeCTAR, ALA, AURIN, RDS, AuScope, and IMOS.

The event also promoted data synthesis activities across different domains with a number of prizes going to data applications combining multiple data sources across a number of fields. The total prize fund for the hackfest was $4000.

First prize of $2000 was awarded to the Anomaly Finder tool that allows researchers who are not familiar with statistics to find data anomalies and map them geographically encouraging further investigation into the reasons of certain anomaly.

The TERN-sponsored second prize of $1000 went to the team behind Pulsar Voices, who created a way of audibly listening to the sounds from astronomical pulsars.

Third place was awarded to Vision in Black for creating a web service to automate the classification of image metadata.

In addition to the prize-winners, a number of other innovative data products and knowledge systems were developed at the event. Everything from tools that identify high-risk areas for devastating bushfires, to ones that determine an area’s liveability, help bird watchers find birds, or simply help cyclists find a safe place to park their bikes.

Such a range of applications demonstrates the immense value of NCRIS and CSIRO data and their usefulness to Australia’s research community and the wider public alike.

TERN would like to thank the event organisers and all the participants for creating such a successful event.  We would also like to thank Peter Isaac of TERN’s OzFlux facility for being TERN’s mentor at the event and providing valuable advice and assistance to the winning team.

Published in TERN newsletter April 2016

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