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A vibrant fourth year for the hackathlon !

Megathon 2019 came into full swing on 28th and 29th September this year with 500 participants from across the country, and another 1000 in the online HowzHack contest. The fourth edition of this annual hackathon was sponsored by Embibe, Micron, Qualcomm and PwC (if you missed the million posters all across campus) and included problem statements related to NLP, IoT, ML, and Data Retrieval. This year’s event was a significant shift from the previous years, due to the absence of IIT Hyderabad, a major partner previously.

Prof. C.V. Jawahar (Dean R&D, IIIT-Hyderabad) motivated the participants for the event. He said that Megathon would provide them an experience much different from standard education as they would be required to work as a team, come up with ideas, fail and try different things out until they eventually succeed.

To keep the participants engaged, stalls were set up by Embibe and Micron where participants could go and play interesting games and learn more about the companies. Additionally, a food stall was also set up for participants’ late-night hunger pangs. Free Energy drinks sponsored by our beverage partner Monster were also distributed to the participants at night.

The event saw great enthusiasm from the participants, who worked extremely hard to design innovative and efficient solutions with little or no sleep at night. Several intriguing ideas came out of the event, such as a solution that aimed to optimize water drainage during floods while preventing sewage overflow using machine learning among others. Other interesting solutions included drone deployment for traffic control in cities, new algorithms to generate questions from given text, and leveraging modern data storage solutions for optimized data retrieval.  

After evaluations, the closing ceremony was carried out, where Prof PJ Narayanan (Director, IIIT-Hyderabad), introduced the Chief guest, Padma Shri winner, Mr. BVR Mohan Reddy. The Chief guest proceeded to share his valuable experience with the participants and gave them tips regarding entrepreneurship. His visit to megathon was out of character according to him, as he would usually spend his Sundays with family, breaking the rule to interact with youngsters.

This was followed by the Prize Distribution ceremony in which, for each problem statement, the top 3 teams were awarded cash prizes of 40K, 20K and 10K along with consolation prizes. It was worth noting that many of the winning teams comprised of second year students, reiterating the fact that when it comes to hackathons, innovativeness and novelty of the solutions presented matter much more than textbook knowledge.

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Amogh Tiwari

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