My experience with Smart India Hackathon 2017

In this article, I will cover the details and structure of the 1st edition of the Smart India Hackathon (SIH) in the year, 2017. I will also share my personal experience being part of a team and performing in the onsite regionals at Sri Krishna Engineering College, Coimbatore, India.

I was a member of the team “BreakThrough”, representing the Kalyani Government Engineering College, West Bengal, India. We were selected for the onsite regionals for the problem statement titled “Monitoring migratory bird population in India” for the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change.

Links to resources: SIH website, SIH 2019 website

What is Smart India Hackathon 2017 and how to apply for it?

This is a national-level hackathon contest for all college students. The applicants in a team of 4 to 5 members had to submit a detailed proposal on how to want to solve the problem.

The problems are given by the different departments of the Central Government like Railways, and many more.

It involved two rounds of selection, which are described as follows.

Submitting your proposal for SIH 2017

This is the first round where students from colleges all over India, first select 2 to 3 candidate problems to address from the different problem statements proposed by the Departments of the Central Government. From each college, usually 3 to 4 teams comprising of around 6 members each, need to submit their project proposal/idea in the form of a presentation, through the SIH online portal. The presentation should contain the following sections.

Methodology: A step-by-step plan focusing on how to tackle the proposed problem statement, formalizing the problem in terms of achievable goals, and lastly, a proposed timeline

Use-case diagram: It is one of the Unified Modeling Language tools, specifically seen in Software Engineering. This is used to represent our proposed system in terms of resources, actors and types of actions, and relationships between them (like one-one, one-to-many)

Technology Stack: It is a list of tools, software, frameworks, programming languages, and databases, which we will need to build the proposed application.

Proof of Concept: We provide screenshots of a preliminary or just working model with limited functionalities of the application we are proposing to build.

We had submitted 2 proposals, out of which one got selected. I have provided both the respective presentation slides.

Bag Tracking and Alert System for the Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications [PDF]

Monitoring migratory bird population in India for the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change [PDF]

Final onsite round

Once your proposal is accepted, all the participants solving problems for a particular Department will all be called to the same onsite round.

It was a 36-hour hackathon, with 3 rounds of judging, with a different set of judges in each round.

Generally, the questions were based on:

  • the utility of the application
  • How different it is from the existing systems in place, i.e, what is the novelty component of your application.

In particular to our problem statement, the judges showed particular interest in the “map interface”, which is one of the novel components of our system.

We also built an analytics dashboard that may be used for monitoring purposes.

Personal opinion

The campus, registration, and accommodation facilities were quite good.

We received tremendous feedback and support from our mentor. We got to learn a lot from his industry experience. This unique feature of SIH 2019 was truly praiseworthy.

Since the set of judges was changed in each round, their expectations and inputs varied significantly.

This made it very difficult from our end, to convince the judges regarding the marked improvement and change that we had incorporated in the last 12 hours, based on the judge’s feedback.

Lastly, after submitting the source code of our developed application, the feedback or proper continuation or collaboration with the concerned Authority lacked stringent implementation.

After a few rounds of communication, the concerned authority regarding the development of the system into a full-fledged real-time application was not successfully achieved.

Team BreakThrough at SIH

Team BreakThrough, Our mentor(extreme left in the picture)

Thank you for reading the article till the end and all the best for participating in Smart India Hackathon!!!

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