C2S Consulting Group participated in the ExpeditionHacks 2017 hosted by BlueCompass LLC for NGA in Seattle Washington.
The main theme of the contest was Curation for Curators. Participants of the Hackathon were tasked to create a project to help national security decision makers gather information quickly from various sources. Then refine, prioritize, and suggest the most relevant content to build briefing books. Building briefing books for each customer is a time consuming process and the hackathon was a way for NGA to get fresh ideas to solve this problem.
The contest rules allowed any data source to be used for collection, but the compute power and machine learning must be able to exist within a private cloud. Knowing these rules helped participants create projects to build the briefings that did not require outside calls such as API or external library references. We spoke to each team to get more detail in their thought process for the project. There were a total of 85 participants and 11 projects submitted in the 36 hour time limit to compete for the grand prize of $10,000. Once the teams projects were submitted, we performed code review on each project to determine if any code was making external API calls, were re-used from other sources, and what front-end and back-end services were being utilized.
Our role was to help participants understand and follow the contest rules, answer questions, match individual participants to a team, perform code review, and help make the Hackathon a great success. It was exiting to listen to each team pitch their ideas and get to know more about each persons background. Some teams were formed on the spot with people meeting each other for the very first time.
The grand prize of $10,000 was awarded to "No Lost News" and consisted of three (3) participants. They created a workflow interface providing fast curation and feedback mechanisms. It's similar to how Reddit organizes news and was designed to be the user interface to a machine-learning powered intelligence brief recommendation system for briefing book builders.