Monday, June 16, 2014

Fishackathon success!

After many hours of discussion, food, coffee, and a last minute infusion of Red Bull, the Fishackathon ended with presentations by our two teams.

A small but mighty group of computer programers convened at UMass Boston for a fishackathon

To recap, a hackathon is where computer programs join together with people who need programs to create solutions. The Fishackathon is a five city competition (Boston, Miami, New York, Baltimore, and Monterey Bay) to create technology solutions to help solve world fishery issues. In Boston, we had a small group of coders join us (small because the NSA was also holding a local hackathon).

Caution: Fishackers at work!

But we proved to be small but mighty! Our participants were tasked with solving the problem of how to communicate to small scale shrimp farmers, and how to collect data to make sure they done combine to have many impacts. They divided into two groups and, within 24 hours, created a solution including a phone application through which shrimp farmers can be registered, sent best management practices and data can be collected. (More on the background to the problem here.)

The project S.H.R.I.M.P. (Shrimp Husbandry Research Information Mapping Project) was developed by Lyra Silverwolf, Dev Lyer, Chloe Eghtebas, Rochad Tlusty, Eric Schneider, Maura Hausman and Hari Lyer. This project accomplished everything they were asked to do, and created a very neat way for different user groups (mangers or farmers) to look at the data they collect. This team had a strong influence from Olin College, and this is a program to be respected.

CaptuRED was developed by Kelly Heber and Iain Dunning, graduate students at MIT. This app is to help local citizens understand the hidden economic value of the environment focusing on the mangrove areas so important in tropical countries.

This project is part of the Our Ocean 2014 conference, and we have just learned that CaptuRED was selected to compete for the grand prize (a trip to the Philippines!). Kelly will present her project tomorrow with the winners from each of the other four fishackathons at 1 pm. Good luck, Kelly and Ian!

This fishackathon could not have been conducted without immense help from Dr. Robyn Hannigan, Dean of the School for the Environment at University of Massachusetts Boston, and her assistant Edgar Frank. Island Creek Oysters provided support for food, and Wolfram provided prizes for the Boston fishackathon. Thanks

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