UKZN Data Science Hackathon 2023

DARA Big Data and its partners in the Hack4dev project, in conjunction with the University of KwaZulu-Natal College of Teaching and Learning,  are organising a 4-day Data Science Hackathon event to be held at the UKZN Howard campus.

The hackathon is suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate students and young professionals residing within KZN who have Python experience and a keen interest in data science and machine learning. The event will feature a few talks from experts in the field, followed by guided tutorials in the form of Jupyter Notebooks and of course, the hackathon project. The event will be centred around the multidisciplinary nature of data, teamwork, peer learning, and fun as the participants solve data challenges using machine learning. 


The in-person event will start with a few introductory presentations on data science in academia and industry. Then the parties will form teams of 5 and will start working on one of two data challenges involving machine learning:

  • (i) A sentiment analysis of Twitter messages. For example, companies would use this to measure public opinion on one topic or another.
  • (ii) Galaxy classification on imagery data.

The data challenges start with tutorials which explain the problem, and exercises for the participants to complete. When the tutorials are done, the teams will have a final task where they use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to solve a new research problem on a new data set. For instance, participants will be more than welcome to change the galaxy images to medical images.

After the hacking, teams need to prepare a presentation of their results on the task and present to a panel of expert judges.

Sounds a bit daunting? No problem! There will be tutors who will assist the teams with the tutorials and the tasks. Also, the teams are not judged only on how they solved the final task but on all the aspects that make a hackathon a great learning event, for example teamwork, how much learning happened, how well you presented your results, etc. The key is that prizes or no prizes, everyone gains something from taking part in this event, even if it’s just new friends!

Timeline and Logistics

Transport and accommodation will be provided for those residing outside of Durban but within KZN.

  • Registration is open until 3 February 2023
  • Attendance confirmation by 10 February
  • Event 28 February – 3 March

Who can apply:

Undergraduate and postgraduate students and young professionals residing within KZN who have Python experience and a keen interest in data science and machine learning.