USI Hackathon 2019, the first "data-driven contest"


Institutional Communication Service

21 October 2019

The digital revolution that has swept the globe over the past couple of decades is characterized by the gathering, processing and analysis of data of all kinds and for a multitude of uses, leading to what we call today a "data economy". More and more information is in fact available to individuals and organisations, enabling thus decisions that are based on real data. Even the public sector, which is increasingly called upon to find solutions to complex issues, is affected by this dynamic, as proven by the collaboration between the City of Lugano with USI Università della Svizzera italiana for USI Hackathon 2019, the "computer marathon" organized for the first time by USI, on November 15-17.

The event that will take place at the Lugano campus Aula magna can be defined as "data-driven contest". During the two-day event, which is organised by the CodeLounge group at the Software Institute (Faculty of Informatics), the teams of participants will in fact have access to real data provided by the City of Lugano, within the Lugano Living Lab initiative. USI Hackathon 2019 features two tracks: coding and data analysis. The data analysis track is all about producing the best data analysis which, ideally, will lead to develop and offer innovative services to citizens; in the coding track, the teams with the best tool or prototype will be awarded, for example, by integrating historical information about hourly parking occupancy with bike sharing usage data one could build a web or mobile app that, given a target location, suggests the best parking + bike sharing station, based on average occupancy on that day of the week/hour. The winner of the contest will bring home a cheque for 4000 Swiss francs.

"A hackathon offers a unique and privileged context, thanks also to the interaction with partners from the industry, to participants who can express fully their creativity and ideas", explains Dr. Marco D'Ambros, head of CodeLounge. "I have taken part in similar events in the Silicon Valley, where the results would often become 'core' products. In our group at CodeLounge we have also tested this approach, which is the result of a research project funded by the Hasler Founations. An intense teamwork, fueled by passion and personal curiosity, and without the typical interruptions of everyday work life like e-mails and meetings, which can lead to excellent results in very short time. In a hackathon everyone wins, because of the great satisfaction of having achieved and built something real".

For Prof. Michele Lanza, head of the USI Software Institute, "USI Hackathon is a genuine example of what 'digitisation' means. The data that is provided from our partners, thanks to the work of Dr. Marco D'Ambros and his team at CodeLounge, when cleverly combined, contains precious information on how we live in the city of Lugano from a logistic and mobility perspective. I am certain that we will be surprised by the results of this first Hackathon organised by CodeLounge at the USI Software Institute together with Lugano Living Lab".

USI Hackathon is not only for 'senior' programmers, but also for budding ones, thanks to the "Mini-Hackathon" organized by Ated4Kids for children and families, Saturday, November 16, from 10:00 to 16:00, followed by an award ceremony.  


Full details and registration: