Big Data Hackathons

The Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) and DARA Big Data (Development in Africa through Radio Astronomy) in partnership with the Inter-University Institute For Data Intensive Astronomy (IDiA) will  be organizing a number of Big Data Hackathons in Africa. The hackathons are part of a multi-year program, led by OAD-DARA Big Data Fellow Dr. Nikhita Madanpall, which aims to develop data science, programming and related skills in Africa in the context of huge radio astronomy projects.

The tutorials and code from the hackathons are available on the DARA Big Data Github.

Hackathon #1

The first hackathon was held at the University of Zambia and coordinated virtually on Sep 30 – Oct 01.

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Hackathon #2

The second hackathon was organized from December 1st – December 3rd in collaboration with the Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA) Big Data, the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC), and the Inter-university Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDiA).

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Hackathon #3

The third hackathon was organized at the Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) in Mozambique. The project involved the use of optical satellite imagery (from the Sentinel-2 satellite) to locate and monitor areas of flooding after a hurricane or cyclone. The event was run in Portuguese.

Hackathon #4

The fourth hackathon and school was organized at the Technical University in Kenya. A Big Data School featured 2 days of programming, datascience and machine learning tutorials, followed by a 3 day hackathon. The tutorials were livestreamed on Youtube while the hackathon event was held on campus at the Technical University Kenya for a small group of participants with safety measures in place.

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Hackathon 5


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DARA Big Data is a Newton Fund project that provides students from the 8 SKA African partner countries with skills in the field of data science and machine learning.

The Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) is a joint project of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) with the support of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). The mission of the OAD is to help further the use of astronomy, including its practitioners, skills and infrastructures, as a tool for development.

The Inter-University Institute For Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA) aims to build the capacity and expertise in data intensive research within the South African university research community and enable global leadership on MeerKAT large survey science projects.

Dr. Nikhita Madhanpall,
OAD-DARA Big Data Fellow,