Announcing the #AnalyticsX Hackathon: Are you up for it?


Even though I’ve worked at SAS for nearly 30 years, I still get excited when great things come together for our customers! This year we are hosting the very first hackathon at our Analytics Experience conference in San Diego - the AnalyticsX Hackathon.

Analytics Experience is in its third year (under this name) and it's taking place in two cities, San Diego and Milan. It is a great place to catch up on the latest and greatest in analytic techniques from the industry’s finest. I always come back with my brain hurting from overload.

I have also attended several hackathons, aka DataDives, from an awesome company called DataKind. DataKind hosts data hacking events for nonprofits and others, and I’ve spent several weekends analyzing data for good, with amazing results.

What is the AnalyticsX Hackathon?

At this year’s Analytics Experience, teams of attendees will get the opportunity to hack away at data, while trying to do some good. We are combining the best of both worlds by challenging those who sign up to analyze wildfire data. While California wildfires are now expected as part of the season, we still want to better understand the conditions and causes in the hope of prevention. It is significant to note that as I write this, the Mendocino fire in California is now the largest fire in modern state history.

During two four-hour sessions, you and your colleagues will use SAS Viya (and other tools) to crunch through historical data. You will eat snacks, drink lots of coffee, and work late into the night as you gain insight into the reasons for wildfires. If your team is chosen to move into the final round, you will present your findings during the Welcome Reception on Monday, September 17th.

But that’s not all... there are great prizes too! Prizes that even *I* would like! I could tell you what they are, but this link will send you to the Hackathon Registration site and you can read about the prizes at the bottom of the page.

Are you looking for your next hackathon adventure?

Before we head to San Diego, we're hosting a #SASChat to explore hackathons a little deeper! Join us on August 31st (3pm CET | 2pm UK | 9am ET) to explore agile options available to innovators today! Here are the questions we'll be asking:

1. What is your favorite hackathon experience or story, and why?
2. What are the advantages of hackathons over innovation labs or incubators?
3. How have streaming (IoT) data, games and machine learning changed the scope of hackathons?
4. What is the ideal profile of hackathon participants?
5. How could hackathons help schools prepare students for the analytics economy?
6 What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone participating in their first hackathon?

Well that’s our time here. I hope to see you at the conference. I’ll be at the AnalyticsX Hackathon. I’m also teaching a pre-conference course and giving two hands-on workshops on SAS Visual Statistics. Drop by, come #HackInSAS and say hello!

By the way, if you would like to learn about how SAS turns data into good, check out GatherIQ.


About Author

Andy Ravenna

Principal Technical Training Consultant

Andy has worked at SAS for nearly thirty years. He has happily spent more than 15 of those years in the Education department training customers and writing courses. Over that time Andy has become certified to teach many programming courses in both the core and advanced curriculum; He now focuses in Advanced Analytics and Statistical Training. Interested in connecting with customers, Andy has written and delivered several papers at various conferences. Andy is not only fluent in SAS programming but is also fluent in English and Spanish. He holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and a master's degree in applied mathematics (minor in statistics) from North Carolina State University, where SAS was born. While there, he taught Algebra and Calculus for 3 years and received the Maltbie Award for Superior Teaching Ability. Andy enjoys running marathons, photography, traveling for vacation, and taking advantage of everything New York City has to offer.

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  1. Jason Secosky on

    Andy, this sounds like fun. How does a hackathon work? Do you seed SAS Viya with several tables, show how to use Viya to answer a question or two, then set us loose on a few open ended questions?

    • Andy Ravenna

      Hi Jason, thanks for the great question. You have it just about right. We are going to have VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments) set up for all participants that show up. They will be able to log into rich software environment including Viya, Jupyter Notebook, and the necessary tables. At the beginning of the Hackathon, they will be given a use case involving the wildfire data. And then we will cut them loose to be as creative and inventive as they can for about 8 hours.

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