Hackathon Win for CMU-A Students

Posted 20th November 2018

Carnegie Mellon University students have once again taken out the top awards at the prestigious GovHack competition. Team Tartans, a team of Master of Science in Information Technology students, won two National competition challenges in the Friendly Australian Tax Office and Tax Help Centres categories with their TaxMate application for the Australian Tax Office. 

A second CMU-A team, Team Outliers, received an Honourable Mention in the Decision Support category. The students received their awards at a Red-Carpet Ceremony in Sydney, Australia.

Team Tartans developed a mobile application to assist the Australian Tax Office determine the best locations for ATO Help Centres to meet future predicted demand and provide service customer needs. 

To develop the App, Team Tartans took ATO data and merged it with demographic, geographic and economic data overlaid with population predictions. After pre-processing and manipulation, the data was fed into their machine learning model using Python.

They also developed a dashboard which visualizes and monitors the key statistics from each Help Centre to understand customer needs and demand and provide insights that will enable the ATO to provide the best possible service.

The six team members are M Zaidul Alam, Erick Rodriguez Alvarez, Rolando Navarro, Luis Ricardo, Nava Pérez, and Donna Safiera who are all studying Master of Science in Information Technology at CMU-A. 

Team Outliers developed WID-ME (Weather Intelligent Disaster Management Engine) and received an Honourable Mention at the National Awards.

Team Tartans at the GovHack Red Carpet Awards 2018 in Sydney, Australia

The WID-ME App provides a real-time disaster management tool to predict disasters and areas under threat, and creates automatic, situation-based evaluation plans for local users and South Australian Country Fire Service.

Encouraged and promoted by CMU-A Associate Teaching Professor of Information Technology, Professor Murlikrishna Viswanathan, GovHack gives students an avenue to practice their data science skills.

“It’s a thrill to see our students doing well at GovHack and taking out some of the top awards, said Murli.  

“GovHack is a fantastic competition and I’ve always encouraged students to compete as it stretches them.

“Our students get to work with real world data solving real world problems, build their personal networks and have some fun”, he said.

“Such experience is second to none when it comes to entering the job market with employers seeking out well-rounded graduates”.

Our students get to work with real world data solving real world problems, build their personal networks and have some fun

CMU-A students have competed in GovHack since its inception over a decade ago.

GovHack is an annual ‘hackathon’ competition where participants create things using open data which is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike.

Teams work together continuously over 46 hours to explore, mash up, ideate and communicate their prototype. The best teams have a mix of skills including story-boarding ideas, building prototypes and creating a video pitch of their winning idea.

GovHack is open to all attracting entrepreneurs, developers, data analysts, engineers, designers, digital media creators, artists, film makers, story tellers, academics and students.

Supported by State and Federal Government agencies, GovHack creates a supportive environment for the public sector to collaborate with the private sector.