One hundred engineering and business students from Jerusalem College of Technology gathered for a 48-hour virtual hackathon, running for its fifth consecutive year. Hosted by the LevTech Entrepreneurship Center, the event ran online for the first time, and while there was a concern, it did not deplete from the spirit and energy of the Great Minds Hackathon.
The winning group was made up of four Americans who moved to Israel, who created software for Hebrew predicative text. For immigrants who move to Israel and want to learn the language, the software aims to serve as a learning tool by adding vowels and autocorrecting Hebrew words. The group of four directly understood the struggles of the new language and used their computer science background to attempt to ease the process.
One of the judges, Amit Svarzenberg from Microsoft for Startups, said “this is the second year I participated as a judge at the LevTech Hackathon. Last year, I was very impressed with the quality of products presented for a 3-day Hackathon, so I was a little apprehensive that COVID might hurt the event this year and we wouldn’t see the same level of work in tackling real-world issues. To my surprise, not only did the level not drop this year, but it went even beyond. Right after the event, I found myself talking about the product to my friends trying to learn Hebrew and to my mother-in-law who does linguistic editing for children’s books.”