DevPost's Sparkathon
Written by Sue Gee   
Thursday, 29 October 2015

A big data online hackathon organized by IBM has prizes totalling $30,000. Contestants are challenged to write supersmart weather apps using Analytics for Apache Spark for Bluemix. 



Apache Spark is today's "bleeding edge technology" to quote IProgrammer's Ian Stirk. It is open source software with four major components - Machine Learning, Streaming, SQL, and Graph processing and is backed by IBM. If you've not encountered it before this video from Rob Thomas VP Product Development IBM Analytics Platform will put you in the picture:

For the Sparkathon challenge developers are asked to use weather data and IBM's new Bluemix data tool, Analytics for Apache Spark. For the purpose of the contest participants in the Sparkathon will have access to Bluemix services until February 29, 2016, which is 5 weeks after the end of the contest on January 20, 2016.

Also provided as contest resources is a link to the free Spark Fundamentals online class from Pearson's Big Data University.

The contest, which is on DevPost, is open to individuals and teams and organisations. You must be at least 18 and reside in the following eligible countries: 

  • Australia
  • Canada (excluding Quebec)
  • China (including Hong Kong)
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • South Korea
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

The task is to build a weather-related application by using weather data and Analytics for Apache Spark for Bluemix. The requirement include creating a video  less than 5 minutes in length that:

 includes footage that clearly explains the insights gathered from the data and the process and method that was used in order to reach that insight, including the tools used

There is also a submission form to complete. Submissions have to be in English or must have an English translation.  All entrants retain copyright for their apps while allowing IBM to showcase them for promotional purposes. 

Judging criteria are:

(i) Quality of Idea (Includes creativity, originality, and “wow” factor of the idea);

(ii) Implementation of Idea (Includes how well the idea was executed by the developer and the extent to which Analytics for Apache Spark was utilized);

(iii) App Intelligence (Includes the complexity and “intelligence” of the Spark algorithm created); and

(iv) Potential Impact (Includes the relevance and potential impact of the weather analysis and application).

The $30,000 in prize money will be awarded as follows:



This contest seems like a great way to get hands on experience of advanced data analytics.


More Information


Sparkathon rules

Related Articles

Devpost Reveals Student Hacker Preferences 

What is a Data Scientist and How Do I Become One?

MOOC On Apache Spark

Learning Spark (book review) 


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 October 2015 )