A few weeks ago, we organized and hosted a hackathon at IPGP and it turned out to be a very successful event.
We are a group of five organizers who are: finishing their PhD in Machine Learning, no longer working as research scientists (currently involved in data science and data engineering), and still living the dream.
We wanted to create an event that would help bring data scientists and geoscientists together.
I instigated the idea and built the organizing team to try and get as many win-win scenarios as possible. To that end, I built on my connections within the pydata meetup scene in Paris, and got the event listed on the meetup list. I also arranged a key presentation from Quantstack, a startup based in Paris that is at the heart of the Jupyter ecosystem, and pushed the event through the Software Underground Slack channel (Agile and Matt Hall are an influence). Our team further had connections at EAGE, which led to a grant application so that we could buy food and giveaways.
We had a fantastic mix of data scientists and academics, every sort from professors, PhDs, master students and folk from the data science scene in Paris.
So, in terms of running the show, there was not much to do, it sort of self-organized as we kept the topics open, and let it evolve organically.
There was a great mix of ideas that came out, three of which are available on github: RaMin, log-curve-predict and FaultsDetection. The fourth idea is led by a professor at IPGP, who is keen to publish the results and still needs persuading on the virtues of open source.
Besides this contribution to the EGU Seismology Blog, we are still working on writing up the outcomes for a publication in First Break (EAGE), and we will look elsewhere, such as the magazine of the Geological Society of London, to get the most out of the event. In short, the director of IPGP was a big fan and wants more events like it, attendees hope there will be other events of this kind, and all other feedback was positive as well. We even had two recruiters come to IPGP to scout for talent within the PhD cohort. I don’t think this has ever happened at IPGP before.
I think it is worth stating, that it is sad that such an apparently useful event was organized by ex-employees and non-permanent staff. Personally, I think there is clearly a lack of looking beyond the small academic world from the permanent staff. There should be a greater effort made within universities to organize events that reach beyond the usual “dull” workshops.
I decided to try and organize the event because I know how hard it is to change career, and I wanted it to capture the imagination of the PhD students at IPGP, as their chances of getting a permanent academic job are slim to none.
The IPGP Team
This interview was conducted by Eric Loeberich
with revisions from Michaela Wenner