Data Mission: #hackhunger

Event Poster2Ever wanted to help WFP hack hunger? Data Mission does and organized a one day hackathon for mVAM in Amsterdam on May 14th. But what’s a hackathon and what do we mean by hack hunger? Hackathons are fun events. Participants form teams, tackle or “hack” a problem (here enhancing data analysis and visualization to support efforts to reduce hunger), present their solutions and winners are announced at the end.

We met Data Mission at a hackathon at Leiden University’s Center for Innovation back in September (see our blog). They are a volunteer organization dedicated to bringing together expert data scientists and tech professionals in the Netherlands who want to use their skills for a good cause.

With Data Mission’s network, we knew we were getting the best in the Netherlands, so we threw three #hackhunger challenges at them:

  1. Use advanced data science techniques to more precisely identify food insecurity hotspots in a country.
  2. Design a dashboard for managers that visualizes mVAM data
  3. Wildcard- Design your own challenge!

The teams blew us away. In only one day, they came up with innovative solutions ranging from producing cutting edge visuals for a dashboard with the open source software D3 to experimenting with event data to track food insecurity. The winner, and believe us, it was hard to choose, had an idea for using machine learning to create neural networks to offer more granular estimations of food security in a country. By the end of the day, they had already published their code on github so anyone can now continue to refine their model.

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For more on the hackathon, check out Data Mission’s blog and and blogs by particpants Pieter Veefkind, Marijn van Zelst (Trifork)  and Ice Mobile.

A huge thanks to the team at Data Mission, event sponsors Go Data DrivenConeyi3, and the participants for volunteering their Saturday. For us, it’s just the beginning of a promising collaboration with Data Mission- so stay tuned!

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Data Mission and mVAM Team organizers.

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