The theme of the hackathon was “Automated international News Services of the future.” Fifty participants from around the world came together near the Tower Bridge in London to hack on language technologies. In addition to team Ontotext, other teams came from Qatar, Germany, Latvia and Portugal. While it included a competitive element, the main purpose of this event was networking and collaboration in this space, and to connect the BBC with people in this field. The event was sponsored by BBC Connected Studios and BBC News Labs.
Eleven teams worked on various hacks and five were recognized for outstanding work. Ontotext was lauded for “Best Entity Extraction” which involved hacking a solution that allows for Russian and Arabic entity extraction from DBPedia and Freebase. Other categories and winners included Best in Show – Qatar Computing Research Institute, Best practical innovation & Closest to launch – BBC Voice, Best speech synthesis hack – Cereproc and Red Bee Media, and Best end-to-end multilanguage tools – “Global Vox” by Edinburgh university.