Unearthed Hackathon 2016

29 Feb 2016 - 14:15

The mining industry is facing many economic and technical challenges and innovation is urgently needed to meet them. 

Unearthed hackathon events are unique 54-hour long activities focused on meeting these needs for the resources sector. Software developers, designers, and industry insiders will come together to develop prototype solutions to resources sector problems. Unearthed participants will have a chance to work on proprietary industry data as well as data from our government partners.

Five events were held in Australia in 2015 and the organisers were keen to run an event internationally.  Dee Bradshaw was able to catalyse the opportunity for Cape Town to host the first International event with UCTs support and put the organisers in touch with Lianne du ToiT of Silicon Cape. 

Five Challenges were set by De Beers and Anglo American and 17 teams worked all weekend to address them.   Six of the teams contained UCT students from different EBE departments, although these weren’t the winning team, there was plenty gained by the participants and it was agreed that there were no losers! 
In some cases the projects can be used directly and further discussions with the companies are happening.  

Mehdi Safari, a participant in the Hackathon, shared his experience:

"Our team name was ThekDens and we worked on Challenge #2: Small particle density measurement.

Our team was a combination of two PhD Theoretical Physicists, one PhD Electronic Engineer and one Chemical Engineer (me). We were trying to find cheapest, fastest, safest and most creative method to solve this problem in short time. Our idea worked very well in principal and need more investigation for real implementation.

I had the opportunity to meet Jeanette McGill (Head of Technology & Innovation, Anglo Platinum), Neville Plint (Head of Business Improvement, Anglo American),  Matlou Mabokano ( General Manager, Mining and Minerals, Technology Innovation Agency (TIA)) and a lot of other creative people during this 54H, and I think this 54H was one of the most efficient times I had in entire my life (solving a big problem in just 54H).

I am very happy to have been part of this competition as Prof. Dee mentioned all of participants somehow were winners, and I was one of them!!!!"

Above: Mehdi Safari doing his presentation on Challenge #2 of the Unearthed Hackathon workshop.