How Smart India Hackathon impacted my life

“Everything happens for a reason” is a saying that we often come across. It is pretty much evident once you read through this blog. The magnitude of impact a regular kid like me from the down south of India(Chennai) had on the airline’s industry(Airports Authority of India) would be surprising.

I won in the Ministry Of Civil Aviation problem statement at Smart India Hackathon 2019 and here is my journey.

Smart India Hackathon 2020

I) Team Formation and Applying

II) Hacking for solution

III) Take Away from the event

Team Formation

When forming the team it’s important that all the members can contribute and participate equally and the excitement is present. It may sound cliche but team dynamics is very important.

I soon began my hunt for my team and found some talented people who I can call friends for life. Each member brought something new to the table. We also got two wonderful mentors Dr.Chandrasekar Arumugam and Mr Ranjith who are our staff. They gave us the utmost guidance and support during the event and led us straight and narrow to winning.

Here’s my team:

Alvis F, Daniel David, Anulaya Radhakrishnan, Aagahs Chandar, Aishwariya R and Asutosh Patel.

( Our Team )

At the event

‘Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.’ — Ed Catmull, previously CEO of Pixar, author of Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

We named our team the A-Team and myself as the leader. We got matching t-shirts with our team name and our names on it. This boosted our team spirit and overall morale.

Hacking for solution

The main hustle just began. Once we enrolled in the event, it was brought to our knowledge that they wanted something completely different from what was priorly mentioned. So instead of jumping into frustration we took the challenge in our hands and tried to crack it.

We had to develop an agile system to generate flight paths with the given constraints.

So we got to it.

After intense hacking, we finally came to a halt with the desired solution which we were proud of.

All we had left to do then, was the final presentation. Honourable Ms Usha Padhee I.A.S, was judging along with other Airport authorities of India and was really impressed with our product as it was a polished and finished product among others.

After the presentation, we were pretty confident about our position in the event.

We bounced in joy. We would have been happy even if we had not won that day as we were pretty much satisfied to see a complete product with full functionality and working.

But fortunately, we WON the event with so much joy and struggle.

Our Solution

The problem was to build an agile solution to map out the flight path digitally. Until that day, a person had to manually map it every time and was exposed to certain constraints that were imposed intermittently. Example: Airway ban imposed by other counter governments.

So Airways authority of India gave us the possible constraints and other necessary information to build our solution.

With this information, we started working on our first iteration.

solution

This application can dynamically route the shortest and safest path by Dijkstra’s shortest path algorithm. The front end was designed using avalon.js and the backend with a python flask framework.

As desired, the solution could run on an internet explorer as the only browser the authority was using. We ran through all the compatibility issues and worked out a way to the solution.

In each round, the judges would tell us the fixes and features they wanted and we iterated to that final product.

Take Away From The Event

Even though I had put in ungodly hours in perfecting my craft I did not receive the validation for my skills anywhere else apart from Smart India Hackathon. This fortified the confidence in me to face any problem and hack the solution for it.

This event made me realise, as a citizen of India I am obliged to contribute to the development of my country, thanks to MHRD and honourable prime minister Narendra Modi Ji.

During hackathon

This event gave me :

  • Leadership skills
  • Ability to thinking and act under a stressful situation
  • Using minimum resources as possible
  • Team coordination

The things I learnt that day cannot be pointed out in one article. It helped me stand out in college and gave me recognition in my industry.

With the confidence I built, I went on to win 5+ hackathons hosted by the university and incorporated MNC’s and won them all. Thanks to the experience gained from this hackathon.

I have been selected for hackathon 2020 after being selected through an intercollege hackathon. Hope to win this time around too.

Conclusion

This was a life-changing experience for me, truly. I started training my very talented juniors who are interested in programming to attend this event so that I can include them in my team this year. This will be a wonderful opportunity for them to get exposure to real-life scenarios.

Name: Alvis F

Email: alvisf0731@gmail.com

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