Kainos AI Camp and Hackathon Birmingham 2019

As was the case last year, Kainos once again ran a two week AI Camp in Birmingham, taking place 9th – 21st September 2019, with around two dozen participants from across half a dozen Universities taking part. The AI Camp was again hosted at BCU Computing. One of the key highlights of the AI Camp occurred in the second week, that being the AWS Deep Racer (online) (online).

The camp was capped off with a Hackathon event at Kaino’s Office in Alpha Tower which required the participants to work in teams to develop and idea making use of AI, implement and present same to a panel of Judges with a number of prizes being awarded. The following tweets below should give you a good sense of what the event was like.

AI Camp 2019 Summary
Kainos AI Camp and Hackathon โ€“ Week 2 Summary (online)
Kainos AI Camp and Hackathon โ€“ Week 1 Summary (online)

AI Camp 2020 Registration
If you wish to participate in 2020 then you can register your interest (online).

A Visit to #HackTheMidlands Hackathon 2019

HackTheMidlands 4.0 took place Sat 26th Oct – Sun 27th Oct 2019 with around 250 participants taking part from across the UK. The event has grown year on year, the 2017 event for example had around 150 participants – A Visit to #HackTheMidlands Hackathon 2017 (online). The following Tweets should give you some idea of what the 2019 Hackathon was like. Who knows, perhaps the 2020 event v5.0 may have 300+ participants given the popularity of same.

Links
HackTheMidlands.com (online)
HackTheMidlands Twitter (online)
HackTheMidlands Discord (online)
HackTheMidlands Facebook (online)

Kainos AI Camp and Hackathon – Week 2 Summary

This post gives some idea of what the final week of the Kainos AI Camp and Hackathon was like. The start of the second week commenced on Monday morning by reviewing what was explored the following week. A number of people from Kainos also attended in order to capture some interviews and video of the AI Camp in action. Around the middle of the week Kainos’ CTO Tom Gray (online) visited to give a talk about the company followed up by a Q&A session. During the final two days of the week two further tutors took part to explore the world of computer vision.

A day long Hackathon took place on Saturday 15th with teams consisting of two to three people developing some really excellent and interesting ideas. The hackathon concluded with all teams presenting their work to a panel of Judges, with some really great and fun prizes available to the winning teams along with a number of individual prizes as well. The previous day – Friday 14th Sept, the participants spent much of the day thinking of the ideas for the hackathon, getting into teams, and exploring the possible data sets they could use. It was really great to see the amount of in-depth detailed discussion and enthusiasm that electrified the room with creativity. A huge shout out to all the tutors must be given particularly to Chloe (online) and Jake (online) who ran most of the two week event.

The tweets below should help to give you a good sense of what Week 02 was like along with the capstone Hackathon event.

Summary of Week 01 (online).

Social Media Feeds
Kainos (online)
Kainos Academy (online)
Kainos CTO – Tom Gray (online)
AI Camp Tutor – Chloe Thompson (online)
AI Camp Tutor – Jake Young (online)
AI Camp Tutor – Mary-Jane (online)
AI Camp Tutor – Liam Ferris (online)
AI Camp Co-ordination – Don Le (online)
Guest Speaker (Convolution Neural Networks) – Alan Dolhasz (online)
Guest Speaker (AI & the Media) – Kari Lawler (online), Youth4AI (online)
BCU Computing (online)
AI Camp Hashtag (online)

AI Camp Week 02 in Tweets
The following embedded tweets below should give you some sense of what the second week of the AI Camp was like along with the final Hackathon event that took places at Kainos’ Offices located at Alpha Tower (online), Birmingham.

Kainos AI Camp and Hackathon – Week 1 Summary

Over the first two weeks of September 2018 Kainos has been running a AI Camp and Hackathon event (online) hosted at BCU Computing. The AI Camp schedule runs from 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday over the two week period, with a final Hackathon taking place on Saturday 15th Sept at Kainos’ office located in Alpha Tower, Birmingham. Around twenty of those who signed up were selected to participate in the AI Camp and Hackathon. The group consisting mainly of Computer Science / Computer Science and AI undergrad students along with some from Physics as well, spans a number of university institutions across central England.

Just prior to this event another had been held in Belfast during the last two weeks of August with the final Hackathon taking place on Saturday 1st September. That left the tutors running the AI camp with just the Sunday to get packed and fly to Birmingham to get going again first thing on Monday morning with the second instance of the camp.

Social Media Feeds
Kainos (online)
Kainos Academy (online)
AI Camp Tutor – Chloe Thompson (online)
AI Camp Tutor – Jake Young (online)
AI Camp Co-ordination – Don Le (online)
Guest Speaker (Convolution Neural Networks) – Alan Dolhasz (online)
Guest Speaker (AI & the Media) – Kari Lawler (online), Youth4AI (online)
BCU Computing (online)
AI Camp Hashtag (online)

AI Camp Week 01 in Tweets
The following embedded tweets below should give you some sense of what the first week of the AI Camp was like.

Post-it Note Art on Campus

Following on from my previous Blog Post (online) highlighting a number of YouTube videos depicting Post-it note art, this post gives some idea of the Post-it Note murals that have materialised around the School of Computer Science and Digital Technology, Birmingham City University. As previously mentioned on a visit to the Google London offices over the summer, myself and a dozen other academics really enjoyed seeing the Post-it note art they had adorned their offices with.

To add a greater splash of colour around the School we purchased 15,300 3M Super Sticky Post-it Notes, this is sufficient to cover an area of around 88 square meters. The images below give some sense of the murals that have already been created, with many more likely to follow. These murals have been created by a number of placement students we have working here at the School. As can be expected they have all had a very distinctive Computing/Gaming theme to them.

What other Post-it Note murals do you think would be interesting to see?

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Post-it Note Art

Hackathon Examples Around Birmingham in Video

Hackathons are a great way to learn new skills and provides opportunities to work with other students in small groups / teams. Many Hackathons take place around Birmingham with the essence of some of these having been captured in video format. The selection of videos below from past Hackathons should help to give you some idea of what they are like and perhaps help to encourage you to attend such an event in the future if you haven’t been to one before.

Even if you have little to no programming experience you should still go along to a Hackathon. Sometimes you will find participants who have graduated several years before and others who may still be in secondary school depending on the format of the event. Some Hackathons are closed events – focused on a particular University institution, many are more open to all who are interested. Many of the larger more open Hackathons are helped by Major League Hacking (MLH) an organisation that can help you setup and run a Hackathon event.

Bull Hack 2017, Curzon Building

Hack The Midlands 2016, Millennium Point

Local Hack Day Birmingham 2016

Aston Hack 2015

Brum Hack 5.0

BrumHack 4 Final Presentation (2 Hour Video)

BrumHack 2014, Live Demos (~80 Minute Video)

BrumHack 3 (30 Hour Timelapse <5 Minute Video)

Game Jam 2014

Typically Hackathon events take place over a period of 24 Hours, though some can be shorter day long events, or longer 48 Hour events. Often these events have a theme or some suggested areas within which you should try to develop some form of novel / interesting software solution. At the terminus of the coding period, each team will then have the opportunity to give a short presentation / demo of the product. These presentations / demos are often judged by a panel whom award prizes at the end, before the final wrap up. Above all the most important part about a Hackathon is participation, as you never know what potential employers may be in attendance. They also serve as a very useful addition to ones CV and can help to make it stand out.

A Visit to #HackTheMidlands Hackathon 2017

On Saturday 23rd September 2017 a 24 hour Hackathon called “Hack The Midlands” kicked off at Millennium Point in Birmingham. Around 150 attendees turned up to share in the adventure of writing some code in teams. Quite a variety of participants took part including students from Birmingham City University, Aston University and the University of Birmingham. Other participants included a number pre-university and several whom had graduated several years before. It wasn’t just students of computing taking part either, but also had participants from disciplines such as Maths, Physics and Psychology. Some of the participants travelled quite a distance to take part in the Hackathon, with several coming from St Andrews up in Scotland and one all the way from Italy. Nine Workshops were also taking place during the event, covering things from web development and Node.js to VR (online).

It wasn’t all just about writing code either with many teams working of electronic based projects such as a 3D Printer, Arduino, Breadboards and the like. A good bit of soldering and de-soldering was also taking place. Was really great to see a diverse range of ideas and projects being brought to light. For some this was their first Hackathon, for others they had been to many before as some of the images below of laptops covered with Hackathon stickers can attest to. A few mascots were also to be found dotted around the desks such as “Otto the Octopus”.

Useful Links
Hack The Midlands Website (online)
HaCS Hackathon and Computing Society, Birmingham City University (online)
HaCS Twitter Feed (online)
Aston Computer Science Society, Aston University (online)
ACCS Twitter Feed (online)
Computer Science Society, University of Birmingham (online)
CSS Twitter Feed (online)

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Keeping Cool
The 3D Printer Project was really quite interesting on two fronts. Firstly for the seemingly random parts deposited in the base and secondly for the innovative use of soft drink cans to elevate the printer to help facilitate systems cooling.

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Hack The Midlands 2017

Day 1 Tweets
Below can be seen a selection of twitter posts from the first half of the Hackathon event.