This yr’s Cisco Enterprise Networking Hackathon, held globally on October 11-12, was one other big success. The Hackathon has grown steadily through the years as a result of it’s enjoyable, thrilling, inventive, and collaborative. This yr, engineers took the occasion tagline “Hackers Assemble!” to coronary heart and turned out in report numbers. Participation within the Hackathon has gone from 275 individuals in 2015 to this yr’s 1637 individuals from 17 completely different international locations, together with 37 college students from 23 universities globally. Final yr, the Hackathon was 100% digital; this yr over half of the individuals on 450 groups had been onsite at Cisco places of work in the USA, India, Canada, Switzerland, and China.
Theme and Tracks
Undertaking concepts for the Hackathon, which was formally introduced in August by Ravi Chandra, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Networking at Cisco, started percolating for weeks earlier than the occasion. The theme this yr was “Multi-domain and Open Programs” and engineers labored on quite a lot of ideas beneath 5 tracks (Determine 1).
Undertaking groups of two to 6 engineers collaborated beginning at 10:00 AM on Day 1. There was meals, snacks, t-shirts, trivia contests, raffles, and a way of pleasure within the air. On Day 2, every staff offered their concepts to judges with slides and a pre-recorded video. Throughout the Hackathon, individuals might stroll across the cubicles inside their places and see different tasks.
Software program Engineer Josh Hampton, who works in San Jose on the SD-WAN product, joined a staff engaged on a reporting dashboard for a lab-as-a-service (LaaS) idea. Testers don’t use devoted tools for testing on a regular basis. With LaaS, they reserve the time they should use the tools, lowering testing assets wanted and vitality used.
For the hackathon, his staff created a brand new LaaS dashboard that exhibits which people are utilizing which assets and particulars of their use for higher useful resource planning.
Working collaboratively and intensively on the Hackathon, “Individuals got here up with questions that I hadn’t considered initially,” stated Hampton. “We got here up with new concepts. The event went quicker and smoother than if we had been collaborating on it as soon as per week.”
Mingyi Huang, Software program Engineer on the Cisco IOS XE staff specializing in reliable programs, was on a profitable staff of two on the Hackathon. “We had the concept to convey Safety Enhanced Linux, a coverage management entry mechanism, to IOS XE.” Builders can paste SE Linux denial of service messages into the instrument, and it generates coverage to supply entry to different software program processes on a router or change.
Taking part within the Hackathon in Bengaluru, Take a look at Improvement Engineer on the SD-WAN staff Rishab Jain discovered the time stress of the occasion exhilarating. “It’s important to be slightly aggressive. It’s important to run quick. Chances are you’ll have to be on name all day.” His staff’s profitable concept was a dashboard for an analytics resolution referred to as Third Eye. The instrument gathers important knowledge from regression testing actions of particular person engineers and gives insights into how testers and groups are performing. Previous to the Hackathon, the staff collaborated with others inside Cisco Enterprise Networking to combine related regression testing knowledge. Throughout the Hackathon, they began constructing the dashboard and a video and slide deck to current to the judges.
The instrument now gives 60 to 70 engineers on the SD-WAN regression testing staff with suggestions on their relative effectivity. “We used to take 24 days to run 30,000 check circumstances. Gathering this knowledge was a guide course of. After Third Eye, we’re capable of shut an 80,000-test cycle in 15-20 days. Our aim is seven days.”
Additionally primarily based in India, Premalatha A V, Technical Lead on the Catalyst 9600/9600x DevTest platform staff, is now a two-time Hackathon winner. This yr, her staff built-in QR codes on system consoles with hyperlinks to particular documentation. “Let’s say a buyer needs to implement ISSU, to know what improve is supported. The QR code hyperlinks to that specific documentation internet web page. Prospects can scan the QR code utilizing a handheld system, like a cellphone.” She credit the innovation with lowering TAC circumstances and offering rapid solutions to system questions.
Software program engineer Andrew Castelino is a brand new school recruit and has been at Cisco for simply three months, primarily based in San Jose. The staff he joined labored on a wise whiteboarding instrument referred to as ConfabAir which was one of many Hackathon award winners. “You flip in your digital camera and make gestures along with your fingers within the air and the instrument attracts as when you’re utilizing a pen on an precise whiteboard,” he stated. The expertise makes use of pc imaginative and prescient and a neural community, and the demo featured peer-to-peer connections. “The monitoring was slightly shaky, however I did some interpolation to make it smoother.” Others on the staff labored on networking, neural community, and internet interface. “It was actually enjoyable,” stated Castelino. “Individuals noticed us drawing within the air and gathered round us. I received an opportunity to satisfy with leaders in Enterprise Networking as effectively.”
Ben Astell, a developer on the Python Automated Take a look at Programs staff primarily based in Canada, joined Hackathon groups working within the cafeteria on the Ottawa workplace. His staff’s profitable innovation was a CLI to YANG translation instrument utilizing machine studying for a extra automated method to integration testing. “On the Hackathon, we carried out how the information may be collected throughout check runs, the shim layer, and a proof-of-concept of the information modeler.” His staff is worked up concerning the potential for the answer to finally be out there to builders in every single place.
San Jose State College scholar Chaoron Lei was assigned to a staff engaged on optimizing the message path in Catalyst 9000. He helped report assembly discussions, labored on the presentation slides, and requested a whole lot of questions in preparation for the judging. “It was a completely new expertise for me,” he stated. “Despite the fact that the engineers are busy with their common jobs, they’d the eagerness to work on a contest for 2 days. They actually love this trade.”
The Patentathon and Past
For some Hackathon winners, the journey continues.
Based on Sarang Samant, co-lead with Amit Nandy for the 2022 EN Hackathon, “Profitable concepts from the Hackathon, together with an inventory of different concepts which can be highlighted by the tech sponsors and judges as doubtlessly good concepts, are shortlisted. Then a core staff of principal engineers and distinguished engineers throughout all PINs in EN work with the groups to determine which concepts may be patented. Lastly, within the Patentathon, groups are guided by the patent submitting course of.”
Moreover, a bunch of Hackathon winners might be provided funding by the CTO’s workplace to pursue their concepts as their new day job.
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