Oct 20, Colombo: Sysco LABS joined forces with the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Peradeniya for the 9th consecutive "ACES Hackathon" held at the university.
The hackathon was launched with the objective of encouraging entrepreneurship amongst undergraduate students to inspire a generation of future world leaders in the IT industry.
This year's contest saw the participation of more than 150 participants across 23 teams, with the first day focused on idea pitching sessions and the second and third days consisting of the development and demonstration of their solutions.
Participants competed under five categories - Environment and Sustainability, Lifestyle, Medical and Healthcare, Transportation and Safety, and Agriculture and Irrigation - which covered a wide range of disciplines related to Computer Engineering.
In order to facilitate this initiative, Sysco LABS provided all the tech support necessary in addition to a panel and mentors to who provided guidance to the participating teams.
"Hackathons are a great way to develop and showcase the skills of well-rounded engineers, and we are ready to support the industry in any way possible to produce the best quality engineers for the country," said Technology Partner Rasika Karunatilake, Vice President and General Manager at Sysco LABS.
"We see this as a long-term partnership that will ultimately help develop the IT industry in Sri Lanka as there is an enormous need for IT graduates at present."
With the guidance of the academic staff at the university, the alumni of the Computer Engineering Department and industry experts, students were given the opportunity to participate in new categories this year that not only inspired ground-breaking solutions to real world problems, but also better facilitated product development and commercialization.
Among the many changes made to the event was the initiative to take the ideas that ranked on top and provide support to the relevant teams to initiate their own startup by providing the necessary guidance and mentorship to continue improving their solutions beyond the constrained time period of the competition. This provided a great platform for fresh graduates to showcase their innovations to industry experts and get an idea of what level the industry's expectations are at.
At the conclusion of the three-day event, participants were not only able to showcase their innovations, but were also able to present a business plan that outlined how the product would be developed and applied.
Chathurangi Edussuriya, the 2018 winner, is a testament to the importance of initiatives such as this for IT undergraduates in the country. She developed a computer software for on-the-spot inspection of soil samples for road construction projects in an international new inventors' competition conducted by Construction of Industry Solutions (COINS) and adjudged by a panel of world-renowned professors this past June.