Hack it, crack it: Vietnamese youth climb the hackathon bandwagon – VnExpress International


It’s nearly midnight on a Saturday, and within the final 28 hours he has had simply 4 hours of sleep, however sleep’s the very last thing on his thoughts.Nguyen Cao Duy, with teammates Vi Thanh Dat and Nguyen Trung Hieu in attendance, has his eyes glued firmly to 3 laptop screens.The trio are sitting in a 40-square-meter makeshift lab on the campus of the Hanoi University of Science and Technology.Their workstation is cluttered with desktop computer systems, laptops, digital cables and a number of socket retailers; and suffering from half-eaten snacks, empty bottles of power drinks and remnants of iced espresso.They are amongst 20 teams of younger software program builders, information engineers and entrepreneurs competing across the clock on the first-ever collegiate hackathon organized on the college campus.Hackathon, because the identify suggests, combines hacking, referring to the act of discovering artistic options and marathon, symbolizing a protracted race requiring quite a lot of focus and energy.The contributors on the weekend hackathon are anticipated to work below strain, making use of Industry 4.zero applied sciences together with Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing and Augmented Reality to software program merchandise, cell apps and web sites to provide you with options for actual world issues in schooling, healthcare, agriculture, site visitors and different classes.Duy, a 22-year-old laptop engineering main on the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, pulls his hair again right into a messy bun, scrolls via a whole bunch of strains of numbers and letters.”Under time pressure and short of money, instead of a wireless and waterproof integrated circuit, we’ve had no choice but to use a cheaper one from the Stone Age,” the senior undergrad stated with a shrug of his shoulders. His crew is having bother making totally different elements combine correctly into one system.

Coding in course of at a hackathon held by the School of Information and Communication Technology (SoITC) below the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, June 26-28, 2020. Photo by SoITC.

Associate Professor Ta Hai Tung, dean of the School of Information and Communication Technology, certainly one of 16 colleges below the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, stated: “Our ultimate goal is not only to help students grow in their fields of study but also to create more opportunities for them to thrive as future global engineers and citizens.”What college students be taught in school doesn’t at all times put together them for jobs after commencement, he added.Duy, Dat and Hieu have been associates since they toiled tirelessly in prep courses filled with gifted high-school college students for an annual nationwide competitors in laptop science.They have determined to construct a cell app that may monitor water high quality in city areas. The smartphone app will assist customers detect concentrations of heavy metals in groundwater. High quantities of metals may cause a number of well being issues. The app will apply Artificial Intelligence to interpret information for researchers, scientists and professionals in water administration.”It can help water suppliers plan ahead when it comes to replacing corroded pipes and alleviating water quality-related health problems,” stated Du, giving an instance of the app’s sensible nature.Duy and associates are amongst about 100 college students invited to the nation’s main analysis college for a hackathon whereby they will attempt to invent hacks which may turn out to be the subsequent huge resolution to international challenges like local weather change and the Covid-19 pandemic.‘Endless list of ideas’At this younger age, Duy and his teammates are hack veterans. They have been to fairly a couple of corporate-backed hackathons by which chosen contributors are invited to create novel options for particular enterprise issues.”At first, we just signed up to learn the trade but then we just got hooked,” he stated. “We have developed a mindset to identify problems and think of solutions. Now, as soon as we sit down together, we can come up with an endless list of ideas. That’s what hackathons teach you.”Their present thought emanated from the water air pollution disaster which affected about 18 p.c of Hanoi’s households final yr, when authorities warned residents to not use the water for consuming or cooking.The crew recalled their associates “having a depressing experience, having to clean themselves at work and bring their dirty laundry to the office.” The younger programmers really feel individuals ought to have been instructed of the dangers sooner. It was solely every week after residents first detected an disagreeable odor of their faucet water that Hanoi officers issued their warning. If there had been a cell phone app able to amassing information in actual time throughout units, metropolis residents would have acquired a heads-up about uncommon adjustments of their faucet water effectively prematurely.”When you get pushed into a corner under pressure, with technical proficiency and strong determination, you will find creative solutions to real-life problems,” stated Dean Tung.It’s caught on

Students work on a number of screens on the hackathon held by the School of Information and Communication Technology (SoITC) below the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, June 26-28, 2020. Photo by SoITC.

Hackathons have grown in reputation, measurement, and frequency over the past couple of a long time. The first-organized hacking contest passed off in Calgary, west Canada, “where 10 developers came together to avoid legal problems caused due to export regulations of cryptographic software from the U.S.”According to hackathon.com, there have been almost 3,500 hackathons held worldwide in 2016. Then got here a whopping 63 p.c improve of their quantity in 2016-2018 to almost 5,700. The U.S. topped the checklist with about 1,500 hackathons. Public hackathons made up 64 p.c of the full competitions run in 2018. Of late, hackathons have turn out to be commonplace for job recruiting and pitching startups.Le Nhan Tam, chief expertise officer at IBM Vietnam, stated that “Finding talent is part of the appeal for IBM as the main sponsor.” He stated the American multinational tech firm would signal the most effective six groups into its help program for start-ups with a yr’s entry to IBM cloud computing companies price as much as $120,000.”The ability to work nonstop and thrive under pressure, along with ingenuity to complete a tech challenge, is valuable to fledgling startups,” he stated.Big firms embrace hackathons for a number of causes. IBM holds in-house hackathons frequently to remain alert to rising tech developments and enliven their R&D efforts.According to tech-oriented information web site TechGig, a hackathon tradition has helped Facebook create a few of its greatest options.The well-known Like button was created in an organization hackathon in 2007 and an intern got here up with the concept of tagging individuals in feedback. What began as some casual brainstorming between Mark Zuckerberg and his crew within the early days turned an organization tradition.The course of, not the resultDuy and his mates ended up profitable nothing. During the demo, the system of built-in circuits nearly went down due to overloading. “Truth be told, we did not stand out in this competition. Our project had many limits,” he stated and the crew nodded in settlement.However, “hackathons are important more for the process than the outcome,” stated Michael Croft, head of UNESCO Hanoi Office.He stated they provide younger individuals “opportunities to sit together and to be creative, and to go through the process of co-creation.” Hackathons additionally give the youth a glimpse of life after faculty, and the sensation that they will accomplish something they need. “Our job is to give them practical projects to work on, not to tell them what to do but to give them the time and space to just do it,” he stated.Six prizes are awarded. The high award goes to a chatbot created by “Not a Bug” crew. It makes use of Natural Language Processing and different applied sciences to assist college students get details about their upcoming exams, course credit and different tutorial necessities.Even conflicts work

A crew works on a site visitors program on the hackathon held by the School of Information and Communication Technology (SoITC) below the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, June 26-28, 2020. Photo by SoITC.

Nguyen Van Thanh, who works in a crew of 5 individuals utilizing Natural Language Processing to forestall the unfold of faux information amid the Covid-19 disaster, stated taking part within the hackathon is cool as a result of he can be taught new tech expertise from proficient coders at a a lot sooner tempo.”Sitting in front of my computer alone is totally different from trying to build a real app with a team,” stated the knowledge methods main, including that even crew conflicts can spark new concepts and dealing as a crew has modified the best way he thinks about coding.He stated additional that there are different sensible expertise he can acquire at hackathons that colleges fail to show, comparable to recruiting teammates with a various combine of information and expertise.”It is easy to find a master in almost anything here,” he stated, pointing to Duy’s crew. “If I want to find someone who specializes in Artificial Intelligence, I will definitely go ask those guys.”At collegiate hackathons, college students be taught from each other, software program coders crew up with {hardware} engineers. The School of Information and Communication Technology additionally invited about 10 tech professionals to mentor college students “coding through night,” stated a Facebook submit by the organizers.”Tech guys spend a lot of time sitting in front of computer screens. I am not exaggerating but rarely do we meet face to face,” stated Thanh, who loved assembly fellow techies on the competitors. Although the crew didn’t win, Thanh had fun. “The best part – it’s fun,” he stated.Out to alter the world”My career is not going to be sitting in front of a computer from 9 to 5, seven days a week. I want to create tech products which have an impact on people,” stated Dat, cost of back-end design in addition to synthetic intelligence options for the cell app monitoring faucet water high quality.The 22-year-old laptop science main has a assured perspective. Not many individuals know that the younger man with a mild smile belongs to the Tay ethnic minority group and grew up in a in a distant mountainous province on the border with China.”I am gay,” he declared proudly. “I count myself lucky that my family allows me to completely and entirely be myself. I am encouraged to reach my potential whatever that may be.”Upon coming into the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, he determined to come back out to his dad and mom and his shut circle of associates.Now, he feels so snug in his personal pores and skin that no social stigma can cease him from popping out at any time when he desires to whoever.The tech group could also be one of many least threatening environments for individuals of the lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, and queer (LGBTQ+), he identified. “In the tech community, it is merit based, you showcase your abilities through coding and programming.” However, so far as he is aware of, he’s the one brazenly homosexual man on campus.Dat is particularly fascinated by advancing human rights for ladies and LGBTQ+. People at all times worry what they don’t perceive, he stated. The younger developer desires to construct higher tech merchandise that might increase public consciousness of equality and variety in order that “together we can create an environment where everyone gets to be their true selves.”