Neurotechnology networks: the battle of programmers at St. Petersburg

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From 27 to 28 May 2019, SignalNeuroHack, neurotechnology signal processing hackathon, took place at ETU “LETI,” which was attended by 100 students of universities and academic institutions of St. Petersburg and Moscow, as well as representatives of start-up companies.

Today, more and more machine learning based algorithms are entering our lives; they are represented in virtual assistants, such as Amazon Echo, mobile phones, smart homes, and other smart devices. This raises the need for qualified professionals who can cope with machine learning.

For 48 hours, St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI” became the center of attraction for such specialists. They had to solve cases of intelligent processing of signals, video, audio and text information from leading Russian and international information and communication companies – leaders in the field of signal processing and artificial intelligence: Huawei, RTI Company, Stream Telecom, ID R&D, Digital Design, and also from ETU “LETI,” organizer of the hackathon.

Viktor Luchinin, Director of the Department of Science at ETU “LETI,” opened the hackathon. He wished the participants to find creative solutions to their tasks and discover something new for themselves within the walls of the university.

“People who worked at LETI were often very creative. Recently, we celebrated the 160th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Popov, first elected director of our university. This is certainly a creative person known throughout the world. I wish you to be creative, to understand what you are doing and why. The Neuronet direction is significant. ETU “LETI” deals with information security at the micro and nano levels. This is not network security; this is embedded in the brain, in essence – integrated circuits.”

Viktor Luchinin, Director of the Department of Science at ETU “LETI”

The hackathon was attended by 27 teams of students and young scientists consisting of 3 to 5 people from Russian universities and academic institutions, as well as representatives of start-up companies: ETU “LETI,” Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, Higher School of Economics, Mozhaysky Military-Space Academy, Budyonny Military Academy of the Signal Corps, Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping, RAS Research Institute of System Studies, Speech Technology Center, Vintelligent and O.Vision.

“The goal was simply to take part, to understand what a neural network is because for me this is a new topic. I think it was a great solution to quickly and efficiently plunge into a new topic.”

Artyom Filatov, Member of the Return 4 team, PhD student at ETU “LETI”

The participants of the hackathon pursued different goals, but the partners of the event were unanimous in their desire to find talented students, which they announced at a press conference on May 27. “Our company has been trying for many years to ensure the integration of university graduates and real-world tasks that companies have. It is very important for me that operating companies presented all the cases on the hackathon. This is an opportunity for participants to realize things that will be used in specific projects. We will be happy to invite students for internships,” Natalia Kolkhidashvili, HR director at Digital Design, ETU “LETI” graduate, said.

Not all teams managed to reach the final and present their projects. “We tried,” one of the participants wrote in a note to the organizers.

“I want to greet those who have come to the end – the most persistent, the fastest, and the wisest. Some participants, unfortunately, did not cope with the task. But we are also grateful to them for participating, for making a decision to try their hand.”

Ivan Kholod, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Computer Technologies and Informatics

The jury members, which included representatives of partner companies, evaluated the projects on five criteria: the completeness of the case, the accuracy of the solution, the speed of the solution, the validity of the method, and the quality of the result presentation.

“The results are very interesting; participants did well. We are looking for new talented employees. Now several people from ETU “LETI” are already working at Huawei. We are ready to hire 50% of Hackathon members. Most of all, we liked the teams that chose our tasks, simply because they were able to explain simply and easily.”

Alexey Romanovsky, Huawei expert

After a long meeting and heated debates, the jury members were ready to announce the results at the awards ceremony.

Each expert of Hakaton’s partner companies identified the best project and awarded the selected team with commemorative prizes. According to the results of the overall standings, the winner was the F1 team, which included Alexander Pozdeev and Denis Andreyev, graduate students of the Department of Television and Video Equipment at ETU “LETI.” Team “Inkart +1” consisting of Victor GumennyAlena SkorobogatovaYulia Zhivolupova, employees of the INKART Company, and Vladislav Chernykh, 1st-year graduate student of the Department of Bioengineering Systems at ETU “LETI,” won the second place. The Return 4 team of Anton FilatovArtyom FilatovPavel Bukhtik, and Sergey Zayayev, undergraduate and graduate students at the Faculty of Computer Science and Technology ETU “LETI” took the third place.

“Very exciting, interesting and unexpected! We have not been to any Hackathon yet, this is the first time. We hoped, did not believe, but tried very hard. I would venture to guess that we chose the most comprehensive approach to solve the problem, unlike other teams. We will give the cup to the head of the department!”

Alexander Pozdeev, Postgraduate Student of the Department of Television and Video Engineering, ETU “LETI”

SignalNeuroHack, neurotechnology signal processing hackathon took place at ETU “LETI” as part of the international conference “Image and Sound Signal Processing in the Context of Neurotechnologies” held in St. Petersburg on May 27-31 at the RAS Pavlov Institute of Physiology.

The hackathon was organized by the St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University “LETI” jointly with the RAS Pavlov Institute of Physiology with the support of Digital Design, ID R&D, RTI Company, Stream Telecom, Huawei, Gazprom Neft, NeuroNet Center, JetBrains, EPAM, and SkyEng English School. The information partner is the St. Petersburg Center for Development and Support of Entrepreneurship.