Student news - Corona Hack

GCU research team receives top prize for Corona Hackathon

Thu, 23 Apr 2020 16:19:00 BST
The Corona Hack challenged participants to create and test solutions to combat Covid-19
The Corona Hack challenged participants to create and test solutions to combat Covid-19

A team of GCU researchers, including PhD students, successfully placed 2nd place at a recent hackathon event in the last week.

The Data Science Research team, consisting of Dr. Imene Mitiche, Alireza Salimy, Mark Waters, Jacob König and Maria Insa-Iglesias, decided to take part in the week-long hackathon alongside their team lead Professor Gordon Morison.

The Corona Hack challenged participants to create and test solutions to combat Covid-19, using the power of Artificial Intelligence whilst collaborating with those who work in the medical field.

The Data Science Research team, also known as Alpaca-COVID-19, decided to develop a solution to aid first diagnosis in hospitals based on chest X-Rays and clinical annotations.

Team member and KTP Associate (who will  be starting a PhD at GCU)  Mark Waters was happy with the results of the challenge. He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have won 2nd place, it’s a great feeling to have all the hard work we put in pay off. The hackathon was a great experience.

He added: “You really are up against it time wise to get something put together and get it working.

Having to work remotely also adds further difficulty to the challenge but I’m really glad the organisers made the decision to still go on with the event virtually.

Thankfully our group work really well together and we know each other’s strengths. I’m looking forward for Team Alpacas next challenge!”

PhD student and team member Jacob König was pleased with their achievement in spite of the current situation. He said: “I am very proud of what our team has achieved given the time limits - I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

It was a great opportunity tackling a current problem that we all are affected by. Working remotely adds another challenge, as communication is different compared to an ‘on-site’ hackathon but we managed to make it work very well.

I’m really glad to have worked with such a great team where everyone had a lot to contribute and am looking forward to continue working with them.”

Fellow team member and PhD student Maria Insa-Iglesias has really valued her experience of taking part in the Corona Hack. She said: “It is gratifying when the hard PhD research work allows you to develop tools that can solve real-world problems and is rewarded in competitions such as the Corona Hack.

I have participated in non-virtual one day competitions, but this competition was much more intense due to the fact that this event ran virtually for five days.

It was something that I could not stop thinking about it during the week, I just wanted to finish my full-working day to start working on it!”

To find out more about the Corona Hack, click here


By Rachael McAlonan

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