Success of Kent Computing Students at Oxford University Hackathon

Oxford University Hackathon

A University of Kent team of three School of Computing students have been awarded a $5,000 grant after competing at a blockchain hackathon (see here for a news release from the hackathon’s organiser). Joseph Kearney, a PhD Student at the School of Computing and an ECR (Early Career Researcher) Member of the Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS), and two final-year School of Computing students Ben Martin and Gopi Gnallingam took part in the event at the University of Oxford. The challenge was to create a token dashboard (wallet) for NFTs awarded to the user for excellence in self-driven education. This challenge was based on a project currently being undertaken by the Knowledge Foundation, supported by the United Nations.

Talking about the event, the Director of the Knowledge Foundation Aaron E. Walsh stated:

The inaugural Knowledge Token hackathon, which was held at the University of Oxford from 28 to 30 March, 2023, was a resounding success. Over 50 individuals from around the world registered to participate in the hackathon. The competitors represented a range of countries, including England, Switzerland, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Senegal, Sri Lanka and India.

The intention of the hackathon was to involve the global software development community directly in the development of Knowledge Token by awarding professional developer grants to the winners specifically to enable them to continue working on the project after the hackathon concluded.

The Oxford winners will be further recognised during a special awards ceremony to be held in front of Einstein’s doctoral certificate (PhD diploma) at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, on opening day of IMMERSIVE SWITZERLAND 2023 and the Fall 2023 Blockchain in Education Summit.

For their submission, the University of Kent team created a fully working cryptocurrency wallet, style dashboard. This dashboard called data from the Ethereum blockchain for NFTs that were minted using smart contracts created by the team.

About the experience, Ben Martin said:

The Oxford Blockchain Hackathon was a surreal experience that allowed me to not only exercise skills I already utilised, but also to augment them with a newer, more diverse, range of skills. These vary from both soft and hard skills such as the need for both exceptional teamwork & self-dependence. With thanks to this new experience and practice in these skill sets, it has allowed me to better distinguish myself in a professional environment.

Gopi Gnallingam said:

Attending the Oxford Blockchain Hackathon was an incredible experience filled with challenges that I overcame. Despite the time constraints, I persevered, enhancing my problem-solving skills and deepening my understanding of blockchain technology. Moreover, the event provided an invaluable opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, fostering innovative discussions and forging new friendships. The hackathon not only expanded my technical expertise but also introduced me to a vibrant community of talented individuals I hope to collaborate with in the future.

All three entrants would like to thank iCSS for providing the travel funding to participate in this competition on site, Dr Sanjay Bhattacherjee for his support throughout the event, and the Knowledge Foundation for organising the event and providing the grant.