DISCOVER Magazine #7

Damen supports Shipathon collaborative computing events

Published in category: Innovation

Following its recent participation in the collaborative computing ‘Hackathon’ event, Damen has once again both supported and been represented at a similar competition, Shipathon, and one of the winning teams included a Damen employee. It took place over the 9th and 10th of November and stands out for being the only competition of this type that focuses solely on the maritime sector, with the objective of encouraging innovation in smarter sea-going vessels using teams competing in a high-pressure yet friendly environment.

Organised by Netherlands Maritime Technology and held at the Undercurrent event venue on Amsterdam’s waterfront, the Shipathon took 80 volunteer students and young professionals aged from 18 to 35 and placed them in randomly-selected teams of five. Each team then had to come up with a solution to one of three real-life challenges which could realistically be implemented within ten years. Each team was supported by an expert mentor. The time allowed was eighteen hours and 52 minutes (to reflect the 1,852 metres in a nautical mile), after which each presented to a panel of experts.

Damen was a Silver Sponsor to the event and also provided space at the nearby Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam for a mentors’ innovation bootcamp before the actual event.

Blanka Ascic, a development engineer with Damen R&D, was one of the contestants. “I was placed in a team along with two individuals from IHC plus two others from RH Marine and Wärtsilä,” she reports. “We called ourselves Team Multiple Choice and our challenge was set by Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners, which wanted a solution that delivered an optimal balance between sustainability and efficient loading and unloading schedules when a ship is in port. This is particularly relevant for the Port of Rotterdam, which is aiming for zero emissions by 2050. It was very challenging but also great fun, and nice to work with creative people.

“The environment was exceptionally stimulating and very supportive. There was an escape room for short rests and a barbecue where we could refuel. There were even beds available on board sailing vessels alongside the jetty. We brainstormed a range of options and our mentor was very helpful, instructing us on managing the creative process and aiding us with turning our final ideal into a pitch. ”

After the 18 hours 52 minutes all the teams made their presentations and we were thrilled to be named the winners in our category.

The other two challenges focused on designing a zero-emissions vessel and optimising the analysis of big data. The next Shipathon is scheduled for early 2020.

Shipathon 2018 Amsterdam
Photo: Shipathon

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