In April 2018 another Implisense Hackathon took place. After the successful Hackathon 2017 in Mallorca, this year we went to the African continent, more precisely: to the city of Marrakech.
Marrakech is described as the “Pearl of the South” due to its many palaces; by the city guide rather as a city of film stars and pickpockets. We think “hackers” is missing in the city description!
It took us about five hours travelling with Ryanair from Berlin to Marrakech. In a traditional Moroccan house in the old town, around 10 dev oriented Implisense employees set up camp with laptops, network technology and many ideas in their luggage. As a welcome we enjoyed Moroccan whiskey – the typical peppermint tea of Morocco.
A Hackathon at Implisense is an event lasting several days in which the participants work creatively on self-defined ideas and try to achieve an executable result by programming. An important side effect is the joint transfer of knowledge.
Technical developments in the Marketing, Frontend, Backend and Data Analysis divisions were implemented in six small groups. Exemplary developments are: Real-time dashboards for marketing performance indicators, clustering approaches for large customer bases, automation of provisioning, scaling and management of container applications, distributed communication architectures using Apache Flink, Kubernetes/Kontena/Apache Pulsar as an example, and visualization libraries for time-based and hierarchically organized databases.
After getting used to the continental and in April quite cool climate of Marrakech, the regular calls of the Muezzins, views of snow-covered mountain peaks of the Atlas mountains and the oriental flair of the old town, we went to clear our heads in the desert. In the Scarabeo-Camp, about 45 minutes away from Marrakech, we enjoyed the wide landscape of the stone desert.
The discussion and programming in Marrakech was structured in a pleasant way with premeals, snacks, main meals and additional meals. Evening highlights were presentations of the results achieved. Sometimes surprising, sometimes funny, sometimes abstract and sometimes impossible to grasp.
Another highlight was the topic of clustering large customer lists. In three groups, each with different algorithmic approaches but identical data sets, an attempt was made to generate clustering that divides several thousand sample customers into as homogeneous subgroups as possible. Bonus points were awarded for a comprehensible visualization of the calculated clusters. On a wow-scale, the most complex method scored points, which was able to divide word vector models into meaningful homogeneous clusters. This is a useful approach for smarter segmentation in the marketing of existing customers, for example.
Marrakech was the location of this year’s Hackathon of Implisense. The city can be reached from Berlin within five hours in just acceptable time. The oriental flair and the comfortable accommodation offered an ideal environment for exciting developments. Among the most important topics of this year’s Hackathon were questions of containerization, distributed data flows as well as clustering and the visualization of large data.
Picture credits: Photos by A. Schäfer 2018