On June 22-23 we had the pleasure of attending the 2019 TOHacks Hackathon. TOHacks aims to connect students with industry representatives for networking and mentorship while providing a hands-on learning experience. This initiative resonates deeply with Lantern Institute because our philosophy is that Industry experts are the best people to provide targeted training and mentoring to future professionals.

TOHacks Data Challenge Award

Presenting the Data Challenge Award

Over 300 attendees formed into teams to take on one of 3 challenges. Each team had just 24 hours to research and design a solution, and prepare a presentation for judging. Microsoft, Lantern Institute and TOHacks each designed one of the three challenges; Lantern designed the Data Challenge. Our instructors worked hard to write an open-ended big data and AI challenge that would excite the students to design innovative, technical projects.

Attendees worked tirelessly over the 24 hour event – with many not sleeping for its entirety! The TOHacks team ensured there was plenty of food and coffee to fuel the innovation.

We were thoroughly impressed by the attendees when it came time to judge projects. Not only were the projects innovative, highly technical and solving real-world problems, but the students were also composed and engaging during their presentations. This is quite a feat for most people, let alone on no sleep!

Despite an array of exciting projects, we could only choose one Data Challenge winner … and we chose Aceso! Aceso is an AI-powered platform that seeks to enable easier real-time diagnosis of prevalent illnesses worldwide, with a focus on developing nations. Three bright, young undergrad students, Andre Fu, Kuba Wernerowski, and Gaurav Ranganth designed a fully functioning system for this purpose. Not only was their solution technically proficient, but they had also designed a business model for Aceso and are thinking of next steps for this important project.

Aceso - Winners of TOHacks Data Challenge

Winning Team Aceso! From left to right: Andy Tran (TOHacks Co-Chair), Andre Fu, Gaurav Ranganath, Kuba Wenerowski, Alice Wolfe, and Shwetha Sivakumar (TOHacks Co-Chair)

Along with the projects, students were able to engage in workshops with big names like Microsoft, and attend a career fair. Lantern was able to meet many of the bright young attendees, learn of their career aspirations and the incredible things they have already accomplished.

We would like to extend our thanks to the TOHacks for organizing this hackathon. They ensured the weekend ran smoothly for sponsors and attendees. We are already counting down the days until next year’s event!

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