AI Challenge

The Viterbi Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Technion hosted a unique hardware hackathon with the participation of chip industry leaders

The unique hardware hackathon that recently took place at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology offered participating students a complex technological challenge: to develop an artificial intelligence-based accelerator combined with a RISC-V processor. The Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) hackathon, which took place in the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering, provided students with the opportunity to work on an important technological challenge in the field of hardware, under the guidance of mentors from both the Technion and from industry.

סטודנטים בפקולטה במהלך הדאטאתון

Professor Shahar Kvatinsky, who is a member of the Faculty of Electrical and computer Engineering, said “we constantly ask ourselves what the role of academia in the 21st century should be, since it no longer has a monopoly on knowledge. Although students have access to information, academia is still very relevant in its ability to teach the students to analyze and solve difficult problems and to introduce them to friends and partners for the journey ahead. This is precisely the goal of the hackathon: to challenge the students with a complicated problem that doesn’t have a single solution, and to encourage them to be creative, to innovate and to work in a team.”

Students Ido Bleiberg and Assaf Klein won first place for coming up with the fastest and most precise solution. Second place went to Chris Shakkour and Laama Huary for the most creative solution. The audience choice award was presented to Zeev Zuckerman and Ari Rozov.

Laama Huary, from the team that won second place, said that “after 30 hours of staring at a screen in order to accelerate the same code, I should have been tired, bored, and indifferent. Yet, somehow, moving back and forth between the processor, the memory and the accelerator, and returning again and again to the same chain of thought gave me energy to continue until the last minute. I would like to thank my partner, Chris, for an amazing experience, the Technion and the Faculty on the motivation we received, and the mentors who generously shared their knowledge with us and didn’t allow our optimism to wane.”

The event was initiated by Professors Freddy Gabbay and Shahar Kvatinsky and was produced by Tami Sasporta and Dolly Gitzis from the Faculty’s Industry Club as well as Maayan Hagar from the Technion’s Entrepreneurship Center. During the hackathon, the students heard short lectures from representatives of the main sponsors: Intel, Elbit, Apple, Mobileye, and Speedata.