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HackITAll hackathon - 60 students, 20 teams, 3 winners, 1 Polly

HackITAll hackathon – 60 students, 20 teams, 3 winners, 1 Polly

“HackITAll” is a hackathon held each year by the LSAC (Automatic Control & Computers Student’s League). 2017 was the second edition of this event and Avira was happy to be the sole sponsor. HackITAll took place on March 18-19, 2017, and was a classical 24-hour hackathon. It brought together 60 IT students, most of which are enrolled at the University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest (UPB), grouped together in teams of 3 (20 teams) and competing to deliver their best interpretation of an interesting, useful, and disruptive app. This year’s theme was to integrate one of Amazon’s WebServices into their applications, namely Polly.

Meet Polly – at the HackITAll hackathon

No, we’re not talking about a parrot (even though it was certainly the inspiration behind the name 😉 ). Polly is a text-to-speech API from Amazon that uses advanced deep-learning technologies to synthesize speech that sounds like a human voice. Polly includes 47 life-like voices spread across 24 languages, so the students were able to select the ideal voice and build speech-enabled applications that work in many different countries. The students had to use a free tier AWS account and were allowed to make use of other AWS services in the free tier.

The winners

Well, all of the participants were just awesome and our judges had a hard time making up their minds. But in the end, the panel of judges — Valentin Puscoci (Avira ConnectWeb Manager), George Cocu (Avira Manager CSI), Andrei Petrus (Avira Innovation Product Manager), Daniel Chivescu (Avira QA Automation TeamLead ConnectWeb), Vasile Moca (Avira Engineering Lead Authentification & Licensing, CSI), and Lucian Toader (Avira Business Analyst Specialist, CSI) — decided on the winners:

1st place

The first place went to T.F.L who created a hospital assistant wearable device and each member of this team has won a PlayStation.

2nd place

.titanic: {float: none} – which is actually a CSS joke – took second place with their mobile personal driving assistant (Siri/Alexa/Cortana for drivers). Each of them won a Dell monitor.

3rd place

In the third place, last year’s winners EtoH impressed the judges with their “Dungeons and Dragons” for blind people. They’ve each received a SSD.

Apart from that …

Most of the delivered projects “wow”-ed us. But more importantly, all projects have true market potential if their makers pursue such opportunities in a start-up framework/environment. Our colleagues on-site as well as the winning teams expressed their satisfaction:

George Cocu, Avira Manager CSI  
What impressed me the most was the fact that each team came up with a distinct and coherent idea. It was about putting technology in the hands of ordinary people that have regular needs. Things like encouraging cooking at home for a healthier life, figuring out a way to navigate through a hospital in Romania, playing a computer game without the need to stare at a screen, or making the most out of your time while being in a traffic jam were addressed in a fun yet meaningful way. I think that I’m not overoptimistic by saying that most of the resulted apps could be the beginning of a million-dollar company and the power to make it so is in the hands of the new wave of Romanian IT professionals.
Andrei Petrus, Avira Innovation Product Manager  
It was energizing to observe how tens of bright and young talents engaged with cutting-edge technologies to ship innovative PoCs. Above all, I personally admired how these well bonded teams of engineers resisted the temptation to geek out with the code, while taking the time to iterate on how to create customer value, before actually starting to architect their products. This edition was, for me, more than a glimmer of hope that the Romanian education continues to crank out aces. Good job everyone & I’m eagerly awaiting the 2018 HackItAll play!
Daniel Chivescu, Avira QA Automation Team Lead  
Going ‘back to school’ to support the organization of this event was truly a breath of fresh air for me. Comparing it to a baseline of my uni days, and seeing the energy, wit, resourcefulness, and cunningness of these young engineers gives me a lot of confidence. I can open-heartedly say: ‘The future looks incredibly bright!’. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day … give these engineers some open-source APIs, Internet, and a text editor and watch the future unfold before your eyes.
Vlad Iordache, T.F.L team-member  
From our point of view ‘HackItAll 2017’ was an incredibly successful hackathon with the LSAC team proving once again that they are able to deliver a hell of an event! (this not the first event organized by them in which we’ve participated). We can say that we have improved our technical skills quite a lot in these past 24 hours, further familiarizing ourselves with Python & Raspberry Pi programming. I personally left with a very pleasant experience and a wonderful prize. This year’s participants really rose to the challenge, befitting the event. I witnessed very interestingly and well-implemented projects, proving that they were all well prepared.
Cristi Stefan Buzec, “.titanic {float: none};” team-member  
Team “.titanic {float: none};” was faced with this type of requirement & format for the first time and despite this being the first event together, we’re very glad we finished on the podium. The prize for us was a nice addition, but not the final goal. We were more focused on building something beautiful, and as functional as possible, in the 24-hour time frame.

Impressions from the HackITAll hackathon

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