The winning team. Photo: Henrik Eskildsen

DTU students honoured at Big Data conference

Tuesday 25 Nov 14

Big Data

  • The Hackathon competition was decided on the ‘Big Data and data-driven business development day 2014’—an international conference with attendance by leading US experts. The overall theme was how businesses, authorities and municipalities best can utilize the massive volumes of data we are now able to collect from a variety of sources.
  • The conference also included the presentation of the IBM Faculty Award which was given to Bjarne Kjær Ersbøll from DTU Compute for DTU’s new Big Data MSc programme.
Five DTU students and a CBS student were named winners of DTU's Big Data Hackathon at the Big Data conference at Industriens Hus yesterday. The team used Big Data to develop a tool that makes it quick and easy for municipalities to select energy-saving solutions.

It was a clearly enthusiastic group of students who on Thursday 20 November were named winners of DTU Hackathon at an official ceremony at the international conference ‘Big Data and data-driven business development day 2014’ at Industriens Hus in Copenhagen. Their winning solution enables Lyngby-Taarbæk Municipality to quickly identify the best energy-saving efforts in terms of financial savings and carbon reductions.

In all, 65 students from several Danish universities participated in the competition to use Big Data from Lyngby-Taarbæk Municipality to make Smart City solutions to some of the challenges facing the municipality. The solutions were required to have a novelty value, be user-friendly, scalable and have commercial potential.

“What we are facing is a huge need to develop tools that will enable us to learn from all the data we collect,” said Niels Axel Nielsen, Senior Vice President, Private and Public Sectors Services, when he opened the conference.

“At DTU, we have many of the answers, but we cannot develop all the solutions alone. We need societal players to find out how best to utilize the data."

Big Data
This is one of the reasons why DTU formed a partnership with Lyngby-Taarbæk Municipality, City of Knowledge & Urban Creativity, IBM and the utility Lyngby-Taarbæk Forsyning A/S on DTU Hackathon, where students work with ‘live’ data.

The winning group used data as heat release maps of all buildings in the municipality, the official Danish terrain model and data about the municipal buildings, for example on energy consumption and roof pitches. On this basis, they created an interface based on mathematical models that provide a quick overview of the best possible energy initiative in the municipality. Among other applications, the model will offer an overview of the buildings in which it would be most expedient to install solar cells, which buildings should be insulated first in relation to financial savings and carbon reductions.

“It is always exciting to unleash students and have them look at some of the things we have at our disposal, as they are full of exciting ideas and business concepts which we don’t see on a daily basis,” said Sofia Osmani, Mayor of Lyngby-Taarbæk Municipality, and presented the team with a cheque for DKK 25,000, sponsored by Danske Bank in Lyngby. She also stressed that all the proposals that were submitted within just 48 hours had potential.

“We're all a bit tired”
The team consists of William Gan, Lars Holtse Bonde and Maxim Khomiakov who are doing their MSc in Matemathical Modelling and Computation at DTU, and Benjamin Hughes and Anders Michael Nielsen who are following the MSc programme in Digital Media Engineering. The group also included Daniel Bertelsen, who is studying Finance and Investments at Copenhagen Business School.

None of them slept much during the 48-hour Hackathon period although some of them dozed off for a few hours in a bean bag at DTU Skylab—the innovation workshop where the competition was held.

“It was a true joy to win after all the hard work. We see many possibilities in Big Data if you understand it properly and know its applications. Then it holds enormous value,” said Maxim shortly after the victory.