The 2023 KSU Hackathon for Social Good

HPCC Systems has been a sponsor at the KSU Hackathon for social good since 2017, and this past spring was no different! This year the team returned to Kennesaw State University’s Marietta Campus with another fresh challenge for the students. The participants in this hackathon were asked to use ECL and HPCC Systems to analyze four major public datasets and design an interface where you would select categories by your opinion of importance and “Find your Paradise”. The interface would ideally use Roxie along with a scoring system to produce a location or list of locations best fit for the users based on their inputs.

The data sources included:

  • Crime data from the FBI’s website
  • Weather data from NOAA
  • Public and private School data from Homeland Security
  • Mortality rates from Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

For more information about the data used for this hackathon please reach out to

Over 100 students attended in person, and they were split between the two sponsors of the event. There were 26 teams total that participated in the HPCC Systems challenge, and nine teams were able to finish and present their final solutions.

The hackathon even caught the attention of Georgia reporting source The Sentinel and their article about the event can be found here.

Timeline and Winners

A few days prior to the hackathon Bob Foreman, Software Engineering Lead, presented the HPCC Systems technology overview to the students to familiarize them with the technology. This gave the students a few days to dive into ECL and take advantage of the wiki resources provided.

On Thursday the event kicked off and the students got to learn more about the platform with the on-site mentors Bob and also Hugo Watanuki, Manager Community Tech Programs, who oversees the HPCC Systems Summer Internship Program. That evening the mentors spent a few hours working with students to help them absorb the ECL programing techniques.

Friday morning was spent assisting students in person and virtually via a Discord channel. A special thanks goes out to Flavio Villanustre, Richard Taylor and Alysson Oliveira for being on hand to help the students virtually. A video of Flavio talking with Bob and Richard as part of our 10 years open source anniversary can be found here on our YouTube. Later that afternoon Bob and Hugo were able to meet with Dr. George Markowsky, the Chair and Professor of Software Engineering and Game Development, who wanted to know more about HPCC Systems and potential ideas for collaboration. Dr. Markowsky took the team for a small tour of the department and showed them the physical installations where an HPCC Systems cluster is being setup at the campus to support future projects at KSU. Bob and Hugo stayed late into the evening helping with questions. By this time some groups had already started submitting their solutions!

Saturday morning Hugo and Bob were joined by Trish McCall, Sr Director Program Management, for the live presentations from the participants. Once the judging was finished all that was left to do was present the awards!

1st place was Team “Friendship”

The solution they produced was fully functional. They improved the solution with additional datasets and more precise scores. The judges could tell this team spent time working on ECL and worked cohesively as a team.

  • Ashton Forde
  • Dion Green
  • Justin Bull

2nd place was Team “WAM”

The solution they produced was fully functional. Their biggest contribution was how they improved the scoring systems by adding weight. They demonstrated that they had a good grasp on ECL.

  • Eric Weese
  • Aidan Mitchell
  • Yemi Agesin      

3rd place was Team “Avalanche”

The solution they produced was fully functional. They improved the solution with a focus on education. Judges also took into account the teams’ preparedness to present their work.

  • Jeffery Felshaw
  • Mahliq Obie
  • Chris Quashie

What really set the winners apart was the completeness of their projects and the incorporation of new datasets as well as taking the time to learn and utilize the power of ECL with HPCC Systems.

This event also allows the students an opportunity to discuss possible projects as a part of the HPCC Systems Summer Intern Program which accepts student from High school level to Phd. For more information about this hackathon or if you have questions about having HPCC Systems host or participate in a hackathon at your school please reach out to


Click the link to read a blog written by Nathalia Ribas who worked with Alysson Oliveira on Using HPCC Systems with Elastic Stack for log visualization and management.

Please visit the HPCC Systems wiki page to learn more about other Hackathons as well as Academic Collaborations.