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HSE Hosts Annual MLH Hackathon

In late October, students from the HSE School of Business Informatics organised the second Major League Hacking (MLH) hackathon hosted in Moscow. The participants of the event, which include students and alumni of Russian and foreign universities, developed IT solutions for Russian companies.

MLH hosts its events all around the world. The first time an MLH hackathon took place in Russia was last year on the initiative of HSE students. These same students were the founders of the club HSE Hackers, which was renamed Russian Hackers after the first event since students and alumni from other universities are now members as well.

A total of 1,700 applications were submitted for this year’s hackathon, with 400 individuals from 14 countries ultimately participating. This included 70 students from HSE. There were twice as many participants as last year, and this was the first time that international students participated in the event. Additionally, whereas last year’s organisers were solely students from HSE, this year they were joined by students from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and Moscow State University.

The hackathon took place at the office of the company 1C, with cases being provided by nine different IT companies. The event’s sponsors were 1C, MTS, Rosbank, Sibur, REG.RU, WorldQuant, BANKEX, HERE, Cleverbots, and CoFactor.

Last year’s hackathon lasted 12 hours, while this year’s took 36 with no breaks. ‘Several members stayed awake for the entire 36 hours,’ notes Maxim Dyakov, a senior in the HSE School of Business Informatics and one of the Russian Hackers club’s organisers. ‘And some still found time to sleep a little – there was a nap area with ottomans.’

The tasks assigned during the hackathon, according to Maxim, were more serious and well thought out. As such, they required a deep dive into the subject matter. Thanks to this, the participants were able to provide the companies with new products to create, ready-made solution prototypes to test and implement into the business, and possible solutions to problems concerning digitalisation. In turn, representatives from the companies gave eight lectures for hackathon participants and discussed things like using information technology to transform a business.

A total of 89 projects were developed at the event, of which independent mentors and IT specialists selected the top 10. Each of the nine companies picked the team who solved the company’s case best, and two more winners were named in separate nominations. In total, there were 21 winning teams at the event, 12 of which had HSE students as members.

The ultimate winner of the entire hackathon was the team AIRT, whose project involved using Java Script to develop a library for voice recognition to control content on a screen. The team had two students from HSE – Alexander Markovich and Oleg Vasiliev.

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