Commencing earlier this year, the SAS 2023 Hackathon aims to inspire 104 teams from 74 countries to be curious and passionate; to invent something new that could change our daily lives, the way we do business, or approach humanitarian causes. South Africa has two teams – from Absa and Dake Solutions – participating in this prestigious event this year, which reinforces the country’s commitment to finding innovative, data-driven ways of overcoming the pressing issues facing local markets.
The annual Hackathon is seeing 530 hackers and 140 organisations spanning nine industries participate using the SAS Viya artificial intelligence (AI)-based automation platform. SAS Viya is making it possible for participants to integrate teams and technology thereby enabling all types of SAS and open source users to collaborate.
“The Hackathon runs for six weeks and provides corporates with the ideal platform to get a sense of the capabilities of SAS Viya in virtually real-world conditions. They also have the opportunity to use SAS technology to drive collaboration internally across their different business units,” says Tumi Nomlomo, Senior Business Solutions Manager at SAS in South Africa and 2023 Hackathon mentor.
The Hackathon is structured in such a way that teams receive the means through SAS technology to transform use cases from ideas to reality. The intention is to stimulate further creative solutions among participating organisations.
“Now in its seventh year, the SAS Hackathon is an enabler for deeper engagement and provides the means to stimulate innovation. More than that, through the two South African teams, the country is highlighting how data analysis can combine with solutions that can drive real social change,” says Stephan Wessels, SAS Head of Customer Advisory for South Africa and 2023 Hackathon ambassador.
The Hackathon proper ran from March 15 to April 12 with jury voting taking place throughout April and May. In June, the regional winners will be announced while September will see the overall global winner announced at SAS Explore: An Analytics Experience for Technologists.
One of the criteria is whether the team develops an algorithm or application that addresses an untapped gap in the industry of choice. Judges will look at the uniqueness and usability of the proposed solution with a focus on the sustainable economy.
The jury consists of a distinguished panel of 30 judges who will select teams from every track with the most impressive business case. They will consider the creativity of the solution as well as its potential for developing it into something practical that can be used in the real world.
ExCreLo, the Absa team, has focused on an RWA Movement Analyser that features abstraction capability to ‘any’ number and ‘any’ domain. This is due to standardisation concepts introduced across base data profiling and incorporates modelling data preparation, the development of the model using machine learning techniques, and visualisation based on model drivers per modelling outcome. Additionally, a bias analysis is also included.
It is worth noting that one team member in Absa only began working with SAS in January. SAS’s exceptional UI makes the solution accessible to the experienced professional and novice alike. The team did great work using the SAS Data Explorer, data anonymisation and auto-variable reduction as general solutions which speaks to the flexibility of SAS.
For its part, Prophetic Packers, the Dake Solutions’ team, has focused on the integration of advanced data analytics, AI and IoT in manufacturing, with specific applications in packaging prediction on various scales as well as environmental IoT for goods transport and safety.
With its speciality in advanced analytics, machine learning and AI, this is the second consecutive year a team from Dake Solutions has participated in the Hackathon, demonstrating the value of the Hackathon as a platform to also support partners build solutions that differentiate themselves in competitive markets.