Seton Hall and Microsoft Announce Solar Power Platform Hackathon

Teams of Seton Hall and New Jersey students are being invited to join students around the globe and participate in a Solar Power Platform Hackathon from April 22-24, using Microsoft Power Platform and Azure Cloud platforms, in a virtual event sponsored by Microsoft and Seton Hall University. Registration is now open!

Participants will be asked to analyze coverage and equitable access to community solar facilities for different demographic communities in New Jersey and to propose new solar development sites to expand access to the New Jersey Community Solar Program. Teams will use Microsoft’s platforms to complete a prototype application based on their analysis along with a brief presentation explaining their idea and video of the prototype. Participating in the hackathon will provide students with an opportunity to leverage a power packed combination of coding skills with problem-solving abilities to address the real-world challenge of solar energy.

The New Jersey Community Solar Program serves all households in New Jersey with a particular focus on expanding equitable access to clean energy. The program encourages installing solar facilities, which provide electricity at a lower cost to households than traditional electric plants, to serve communities across New Jersey.

Event organizers explained that the hackathon theme is to understand and promote the deployment of solar panel technology for electricity generation in New Jersey. The hackathon is of special relevance for students interested in data science, computer science, environmental issues, and public policy.

Seton Hall faculty co-organizers from the College of Arts and Sciences include:

  • Shajina Anand, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Manfred Minimair, Ph.D., professor, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science

Seton Hall faculty public policy data mentors from the College of Arts and Sciences include:

  • Matthew Hale, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Political Science and Public Affairs
  • Michael Taylor, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Political Science and Public Affairs

Urging students of the value of participation, Anand said, “The hackathon on Solar Power Platform will give great exposure to students and researchers about how new trends in artificial intelligence and analytics can help to provide insights on expanding access to cleaner energy in New Jersey. This will also be a platform for various students and other participants to explore the multitude of features on the Microsoft Azure cloud.”

Equally of importance, this hackathon enables students to address challenges around climate change and sustainability. It provides students with an opportunity to change the solar energy landscape with their technical and critical thinking skills.

“The Solar Power Platform hackathon is a great opportunity for students to help address an important issue of access to clean energy in New Jersey and to learn modern technologies for data science and cloud computing. The student leverage data to develop apps that help policy makers and For developing apps, the students facilities use the Microsoft Power Platform, a “low-code” analytics and cloud computing platform that is accessible to individuals without programming background. will include cross-disciplinary teams of students interested in applications of data science, computer science, public policy and environmental issues,” explained Minimair.

The event is open to teams of college students with four to six participants per team. Students from all backgrounds are welcome. Power Platform is an environment for developing analytics apps with a graphical interface requiring little coding. Beginning on Earth Day — Friday, April 22 — the hackathon will start with introductions in the morning and Power Platform tutorials in the afternoon. App development will continue over the weekend and be concluded on Sunday, April 24, 2022. Winners will be announced in May.

For more information and to register, visit the Solar Power Platform Hack-a-thon website here.

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