Twenty-four students from the Australian National University took part in the Unearthed Hackathon, an annual event which focuses on developing prototype solutions for the energy and resources industry.
This 54-hour innovation program is aimed at connecting global resource companies to entrepreneurs and innovators, and provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge to real world challenges.
Computing student Jay Hansen said that out of the three challenges presented, his team was most intrigued by the challenge to optimise dump-truck cycle times within the Lake Cowal gold mine.
“We developed a smart truck scheduling system called ‘Mastermine’ which analyses the current state of the mine and calculates the best possible mining schedule one hour into the future,” explained Jay.
“We wanted to empower the controllers to be able to make the best decisions at any given time. We were commended by judge Christine Beauchamp for the amount of empathy our team showed in wanting to empower controllers in contrast to other groups who preferred to remove them entirely.”
Master of Computing student Xiao Tan said, “Unearthed was a valuable experience as I got to catch on to business and start-ups, which is not easy to do in university. I had great opportunities to improve my problem-solving skills, and the event showed me perfect pitches, which was very helpful.”
Gaining an insight into the workings of an actual business and connecting with leading companies was a highlight for the participating students.
Bachelor of Information Technology student Martyn Jones said, “Sometimes it is difficult to catch on to the business and technical aspects of such a large industry. The assets available at the conference were made easily accessible and helped me learn the core functions and operations of large businesses as well as new start-ups.”
The ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science supported the students’ participation through the CECS Student Experience Fund. This fund supports student-led initiatives which enhance the overall experience for engineering and computing students. The next round of applications closes on 2 December.