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    « The Data Explosion | Main | Been There, Hacked That: Tips for PennApps 2011 »

    PennApps 2011: Data Hackathon

    Following in the spirit of last semester's mobile focus, we're excited to announce Data as the focus for the Fall 2011 PennApps hackathon.

    Why Data?

    Data is everywhere. Data is your text messages, your search history, your documents; practically anything you interact with on a daily basis. Data can be private like your credit card information, or public like a stock ticker.

    [Data growth projections for the next 4 years, courtesy of EMC]

    We produce new data all the time, usually unintentionally or without even thinking about it. Last year alone we created and replicated 1.2 zetabytes of data, and that number is growing exponentially.

    New Sources

    Hand in hand with greater data creation, more data sources are becoming easy to work with. From the New York Times or Wikipedia opening up their archive for queries, to governments (including Philadelphia) inviting developers to take advantage of their data sources, data is becoming increasingly easier to obtain. At least two companies have been started with the explicit premise of organizing and presenting data to developers.

    So, this is the challenge and the opportunity presented by the rapid rise and availability of data: how do we make sense of it all and how do we use data to improve the world?

    [FlyOnTime uses flight history data to find flights likely to be on time. ]


    At the beginning of the hackathon, students will be presented with a variety of publicly available data sets. The first and most important part of any good PennApps Data submission will be the problem it seeks to solve, and the effectiveness with which it addresses that problem. PennApps Data demands that competitors find interesting problems that can be solved uniquely and efficiently through the use of data.

    Where that data comes from is up to the individual teams. Although we expect to see big data or data with rapid growth, the sources of that data can range from APIs to crowd-sourcing to sensor data. Be creative; any appropriate source is fair game, and the limit to what you can learn and build when you start integrating data sources is endless.

    [SeptaNow, the Student Choice Award Winner from PennApps 2010, helps find trains in the Philadelphia area]

    Cool Applications

    Interested in participating? Sign up here!
    Zach is a recent Penn graduate, spending his summer doing data analytics for quantiFind
     before returning to Penn to finish out a Masters degree.

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