Register for the BRICS Intelligent Telescope and Data Network Regional Hackathon


Registration is open for the BRICS Intelligent Telescope and Data Network (BITDN) regional hackaton at the South Africa Astronomy Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town, South Africa. BITDN is a partnership between the Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA) and the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) under the BRICS Astronomy programme.

The project aims to positively impact society through various initiatives including hackathons. As a result, the first BITDN regional hackathon will take place from 11-13 October 2022. The organisers envisage that similar hackathon events will subsequently follow in the BITDN partner countries. The hackathon is for Honours and Master’s students in all fields of science who wish to gain experience in Data Science and Machine Learning


The in-person event will start with a few introductory interventions about data science, both in academia and in industry. Then the participants will form teams of five and will start working on one of two data challenges involving machine learning:

  • A sentiment analysis of Twitter messages. For example, companies would use this to measure public opinion on one topic or another.
  • An agritech analysis of the quality of apples. This is an example of how technology assists agriculture in the age of the 4th industrial revolution.

The data challenges will begin with tutorials explaining the problem and exercises for the participants to complete. After the tutorials, the teams will have a final task where they apply their new knowledge and skills to solve a problem of their choice. The teams will subsequently present their task results to a panel of judges.

The organisers will provide tutors to assist the teams with the tutorials and the tasks. Furthermore, the judges will not assess the teams exclusively on how well they solved the final task but on all the aspects that make a hackathon a great learning event. For example, the teams would also be assessed based team work, how much learning happened, how well the teams presented their results, etc.

Timeline and Logistics

Participants will be responsible for their transportation and accommodation. However, the organisers will offer a small transport subsidy. The organisers also strongly encourage the participants to bring their laptops. However, a few computers will be set up for participants who do not have a laptop. In addition, participants must have some experience using Python and Jupyter Notebooks

The deadline for registration is 26 September 2022, with the organisers accepting no more than 30 participants. Successful participants will receive their attendance confirmation on 30 September 2022.

Interested persons can register for the hackathon here. You can also get more information about the hackathon here.

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