SAS announces 2023 Hackathon winners

From predicting flooding and improving disaster response to better detecting sepsis and reducing carbon footprints, teams addressed big challenges

SAS, the leader in AI and analytics, has announced the winners of the 2023 SAS Hackathon across 23 regional, industry, technology and specialty categories. These winners represent businesses, universities, governments and SAS partners around the world.

SAS produces the annual Hackathon. And this year’s Hackathon was sponsored by technology leader and SAS partner Intel.

The Hackathon brings together hundreds of curious minds for a monthlong, all-digital hack. The competition challenges teams in a host of industries to apply technology to solve real-world business and humanitarian problems.

This year, more than 1,400 people from 75 countries applied to join the Hackathon. This led to more than 100 teams representing 140 organizations. These teams included seasoned data scientists and quantitative experts, as well as business analysts, marketers, industry professionals and students.

Working with a SAS mentor, each team used SAS® Viya® – SAS’ cloud-native, massively parallel AI and analytics platform – along with other SAS software, partner technology, open source tools and the SAS cloud platform.

“The SAS Hackathon is a crucible for curiosity and an incubator for innovation,” said Peter Lundqvist, SAS’ Global Hackathon Program Manager. “AI in the cloud gives Hackathon teams – and the organizations they represent – the power to quickly transform data into better, faster decisions that improve lives.”

Overall winner?

While SAS announced category winners today, the overall 2023 SAS Hackathon winner will be named at SAS Explore, the SAS AI and analytics technology conference, Sept. 11-14 in Las Vegas. Register now for SAS Explore.

Predicting and preventing flooding caused by climate change

Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, is home to 11 million people and is the economic engine of the nation. With 13 major rivers and 40% of its land below sea level, the city has a long history of flooding. And due to climate change, that flooding has worsened.

The Jakarta Provincial Government turned to the SAS Hackathon for help. Team JaWaRA (Jakarta Water Resources Analytics) included government data scientists and engineers, along with those from StarCore Analytics. Using SAS AI, machine learning and IoT analytics, the team analyzed real-time data on rainfall, water levels and river flow to better predict and prevent flooding.

Their Early Warning System is part of a larger citywide Flood Control System. It is powered by SAS Viya and SAS Analytics for IoT.

In cities and regions across the globe, climate change has increased flooding risk, frequency and severity. In response to this growing threat, governments and businesses are taking steps to better predict, manage and mitigate flooding. These efforts can save lives, protect property and support commerce. In Jakarta and elsewhere, technologies like AI, machine learning and IoT analytics are helping.

For the 2023 SAS Hackathon, team JaWaRA won in three categories: Asia-Pacific (region), Public Sector (industry), and Machine Learning (technology). Only one other team – the Insight-O-Meters – won in three categories for its energy forecasting solution for utilities and consumers.

“Team JaWaRA is typical of the great work we saw in this year’s Hackathon,” said Einar Halvorsen, SAS Global Hackathon Program Lead. “The SAS Hackathon is all about people coming together to make a difference. JaWaRA won in three categories, but in a larger sense all the teams and participants are winners, coming away with knowledge, experience and connections that will continue to serve their organizations and communities. The Hackathon is so much more than a competition.”

2023 SAS Hackathon winners

More than 100 expert judges chose regional, industry, technology and specialty winners. To learn more about each winning team and view videos of their projects, visit the SAS Hacker's Hub community and search by team name.

Regional winners

  • AmericasEnd Forced Labor [US]. An estimated 27.6 million people are in situations of forced labor today. Beyond the human tragedy, there are business ramifications. Customers, investors and employees increasingly look at organizations’ ethical practices. And these organizations want better visibility into their supply chains to eliminate forced labor. Using SAS Viya and other tools, this team from nonprofit Hope for Justice, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Binghamton University and Drexel University created a visual dashboard to explore forced labor by country, industry and commodity. The dashboard, which uses data from many sources, can help predict the next commodities affected by this hidden crime.
  • Asia-PacificJaWaRA [Indonesia]. This team from the Jakarta Provincial Government and StarCore Analytics developed a centralized and integrated flood-control system. See above for more details.
  • EMEAEPAM & Linktera4Good [Turkey]. When disasters like February’s horrific earthquake in Turkey strike, governments, rescue teams and nongovernmental organizations need quick and reliable information amid the chaos. This team from EPAM and Linktera created a model that streamlines the decision-making process to allocate resources effectively and help the most vulnerable. The solution employs SAS Viya and open source tools to generate real-time, verified information for responders, combining data from social media with verifiable satellite imagery. This creates a clearer picture of the situation on the ground, including locations of collapsed buildings and blocked roads. In a disaster, every second counts.

Global industry winners

  • BankingSantander [US]. This team from Santander Bank built an online carbon-footprint tracker that works alongside transactions in bank accounts. The team used SAS Viya and its machine learning capabilities to create a model that links merchant category codes for transactions with S&P Global’s ESG (environmental, social and governance) scores and other research. Using the tracker, consumers can see the real-time impact of their purchases, make informed decisions and receive suggestions on how to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • EnergyThe Insight-O-Meters [US & Asia-Pacific]. The world needs more power, and electricity demand is growing. This team from NEC Corp. built a solution for utility companies and consumers that improves processes at electric utilities and provides usage insights to help inform customers. This multifaceted solution uses smart-meter data and energy forecasting to help provide reliable electric power while improving sustainability.
  • Health Care & Life SciencesAI Generated Synthetic Data in Healthcare [Netherlands]. This team from startup Syntho wanted to better predict patient deterioration and mortality for cancer research at a leading hospital. Since real health data is very private and not easy to access, Syntho generated synthetic data. This is completely new and artificial data that, through the application of AI, mimics real-world data. SAS Viya validated that the synthetic data was as good as real data and ready for model development, then analyzed it to make predictions related to the cancer research.
  • InsuranceStaSASticians [US]. A student-led team from the Illinois Institute of Technology and Northwestern University sought to help people make financial investments that align with their goals and values. The team used SAS Viya and open source tools to create a dashboard that looks at ESG factors to better inform potential investors. This ESG grade can lead to more sustainable and responsible investing and better long-term performance.
  • ManufacturingTeam Notilyze [Netherlands]. The Netherlands is one of the world’s biggest cheese producers. Optimizing the cheesemaking process can boost yield, maintain quality and reduce waste. This Hackathon team from SAS partner Notilyze analyzed data from a Dutch cheese factory and used SAS Viya to design a dashboard exploring all components of the cheesemaking process, build models to predict yield based on these components, and develop an API that suggests adjustments to the process.
  • Public SectorJaWaRA [Indonesia]. See description above.
  • RetailFair Factories Clearinghouse [US]. This team is from nonprofit Fair Factories Clearinghouse, which conducts factory audits for apparel and textile brands. The team developed a standardized solution to help companies navigate high-risk areas in ESG and prioritize risk mitigation. In the Hackathon, the team focused on forced labor and environmental noncompliance, though the algorithms they developed with SAS can be used across all ESG areas.
  • Telecom & New MediaML Jokers 2.2 [Serbia]. This team from Telekom Srbija focused on better use of office space. The team’s Intelligence for Workspace project gathered and analyzed data from IoT devices in various offices, including data on temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and volatile organic compounds. By using SAS Viya, the team optimized energy consumption while providing more comfortable and healthier workspaces for employees.

Global technology winners

  • App Factory CloudThe Insight-O-Meters [US & Asia-Pacific]. See description above.
  • Computer VisionCritical Thinking Crew [Japan]. This team from ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corp. created a service that uses a mobile app and web camera to monitor and estimate posture and heart rate. It notifies the support desk when an abnormality occurs. The app for self-monitoring uses capabilities of SAS Viya and SAS Cloud. The goal is to prevent solitary deaths.
  • ForecastingalgoWatt [Italy & US]. This team featured members from algoWatt SpA, the University of Genoa and Oakland University. The team focused on creating a decision-support tool for the planning, sizing and operation of renewable energy communities.
  • Intelligent DecisioningLinktera4Insurance [Turkey]. When disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes strike, Linktera wants to rapidly alert its insurance customers so they can prepare and respond. The team’s Catastrophic Risk Notification product, or CARNOS, uses SAS Viya and SAS Intelligent Decisioning to analyze news from social media and other sources. It then notifies insurance customers with visual reports and alerts with details (such as location and damage). Insurers can quickly determine how many policyholders may be affected, for example.
  • IoTREDE [Kazakhstan]. This team from Rede Management Consulting developed a digital twin that can help optimize equipment usage in manufacturing and mining. The specific example they explored in the Hackathon was gold mining. SAS Event Stream Processing was used to input real sensor data. The solution included a recommendation system to help operators adjust equipment to maximize production while reducing energy costs and emissions.
  • Machine LearningJaWaRA [Indonesia]. See description above.
  • Natural Language ProcessingEPAM & Linktera4Good [Turkey]. See description above.
  • VisualizationButterflies [UK]. A team from Butterfly Data used SAS Viya and other SAS technology to create a green-energy suitability assessment tool. It uses data on location, house direction and weather to recommend the type of green energy a user should consider.

Global special awards

  • Channel ReadinessFair Factories Clearinghouse [US]. See description above.
  • Student/Young Talent – (⌐■_■) (Sunglasses) [Poland]. This team of students from Poland’s Narodowy Instytut Onkologii (National Institute of Oncology) created a machine learning model to evaluate social media content and detect body shaming and other hateful speech.
  • SustainabilityThe Insight-O-Meters [US & Asia-Pacific]. See description above.
  • Trustworthy AIIN STEP (savINg liveS fighTing nEonatal sePsis) [Portugal]. This team from the Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Ocidental (West Lisbon Hospital Center) created a model that can help with earlier diagnosis and intervention of neonatal sepsis, a life-threatening complication of an infection, especially for preterm infants. The model integrates and analyzes case data from many patients to better predict sepsis, giving the medical team more time to respond with treatments.

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A SAS Hackathon team in Jakarta, Indonesia created an Early Warning System to predict and prevent flooding.