The 2017 HackNTU opened on July 21 at the Expo Dome in the Taipei Expo Park. Organized by the HackNTU student team, this year’s event was on the themes of Data Science and Civic Technology and gathered over 500 students and professionals from all around the world. Guests from CTBC Financial Holding, Chunghwa Telecom and the Taipei City Government Department of Transportation were present at the opening ceremony. NTU Vice Principal Tei-Wei Kuo and Director of the Information Management Center (MOEA) Jeng-Wei Ma presented awards at the closing ceremony in the afternoon of July 23. Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee was also there to look at participants’ work.
Data Science and Civic Technology
A “hackathon” is a space where developers, designers, and problem solvers gather together and work on a project without interruption for a certain period of time, trying to create various interesting services and products in line with the theme and trying to solve the problems at hand. In recent years, with overwhelming technological advancements and the emergence of big data, gaining useful information through data analysis has become the key to maximizing application and innovation. At the same time, as civic consciousness rises among the general public, technology can now be seen in more niche markets, making it a great tool for improving public interest and optimizing citizen participation. Thus, the 2017 HackNTU focused on the major themes of Data Science and Civic Technology, and participants were encouraged to absorb as much information as they could through the various activities, to help them conceive of or develop great new products and services.
This is how HackNTU was able to gain support from the NTU administration and build a close partnership with industry. In addition to the active participation of the Taipei City Government and the Industrial Development Bureau (MOEA), the CTBC Financial Holding and Chunghwa Telecom were both important driving forces behind this event.
The 3-day hackathon saw one keynote speech, two workshops and eleven seminars, all of which (in addition to hacking itself) could help participants understand the industry better. Many partnering organizations set up booths, and technical instructors were also present to provide assistance, engage in discussion and make suggestions, all while showcasing the latest tech.
On the third day, the Expo and Demo were extended to last the entire day in order to give participants more time to introduce their creations. Organizers made every effort to improve on previous competitions, providing a less stressful environment and building an interactive platform through collaboration between industry, academia and government, in the hope of injecting innovative thinking into society.
After five years’ hard work, now the biggest Hackathon in Asia
HackNTU is a grassroots non-profit organization founded by NTU students, which aims to explore the world and solve problems using technology. The first HackNTU event back in 2013 was also the first hackathon in East Asia to be held by students, and the event has since gone on to win the title of Asia’s biggest hackathon. Through continuous tech-related seminars and workshops, HackNTU promotes tech knowledge among students and the public alike, bringing people together and encouraging interaction.
Event coordinator Keyun Ye (葉克芸), a student in NTU’s Department of Library and Information Science, said that every year the organizers aim to optimize and refine the entire event experience. They plan various themed activities of differing levels of difficulty for different customers—like technicians, designers, etc.—so that people are willing to get involved and solve problems for themselves. The HackNTU team hopes the interaction at the event will bring young and new thinking to Taiwan, and help students not just to find a place in society but to excel.
The organizers of 2017 HackNTU learned from the previous year’s experience, as well as Taiwanese industry and overseas hackathons, improving content and creating a completely different hackathon experience.