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Coders to take over Aalto University at Europe’s biggest hackathon

Aalto University’s main building will host Junction on 23–25 November, when coders from around the world will tackle industry-set challenges.
Dipolin sisäänkäynti Junction 2017 -tapahtumassa. Kuva: Mikko Raskinen.

With more than 1 300 participants representing 105 nationalities, the continent’s biggest hackathon will take place this weekend at Aalto University in Finland. More than 7 000 applications were received for the 48-hour event, now running for the fourth consecutive year.

In teams of up to five, participants will work from Friday afternoon at 16:00 to Sunday morning at 10:00 to solve programming challenges defined by companies and other organisations. The winning team, to be announced Sunday at 17:30, can look forward to a main prize worth €20 000. 

Partners have created challenges on 11 themes including artificial intelligence, urban planning and transport services as well as blockchain technology, the Internet of things and digital business. Health tech and the gaming industry are also represented.

As a Junction partner, Aalto University is challenging coders to create the best campus experience in the world, in cooperation with the newly opened A Bloc shopping centre. Teams part of the challenge, under the Digital Retail track, will be given access to wireless network data that details how, where and when the flow of people move around campus. 

To be able to visualise and demonstrate their solutions, the Cityscope urban planning tool from City Science Lab @ Aalto, a collaboration between Aalto University and MIT Media Lab, will also be available. The goal of the challenge is to improve service planning, facility leasing, retail sales and customer satisfaction on the campus by analysing the people flow data.

For another challenge, Aalto University and the City of Helsinki are inviting teams to find ways to make large-scale infrastructure projects more efficient—ultimately, to finish jobs more quickly and smooth the flow of on-site work.

Junction 2018 is arranged by an international community of student volunteers. The event first got its start from the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, or Aaltoes, also responsible for the world’s leading startup event Slush and the Kiuas incubator programme. This year is also the first to see the Junctionx concept launched internationally in China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Hungary.

For companies, the hackathon provides an opportunity to discover new talent as well as solutions for real problems, while students get a chance to demonstrate their abilities to potential employers.

The event is taking place for the second time at Aalto University’s main building, Dipoli, which volunteers will restyle for the weekend with a recycling theme. Known for its architectural significance and reflection of Finnish nature, Dipoli has a rich history of student-led initiatives, as it was originally built by a student union. 

Dipoli toimi Junctionin tapahtumapaikkana myös marraskuussa 2017. Kuva: Iida Nenonen/ HackJunction
Coders fill all corners of Dipoli on a November weekend. Photo: Iina Nenonen / hackjunction.com

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