Did You Miss @Hotels.ng #MachineLearning #Hackathon?

Last week, Hotels.ng announced a hackathon which focused on Machine learning with the aim of producing an algorithm that can look at existing trends and be able to predict users which will likely cancel after booking a hotel. The hackathon held at the Hotels.ng HQ on the 1st of August.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence in general are not exactly popular fields in development as far as Africa is concerned so much so that in 2013, when Wayopedia was in full gear, the lack of people who specialized in that area didn’t make the project fly as high as it could. However, with the ‘crowd’ I saw at the Hotels.ng Machine Learning, there seems to be hope.

Initially, there was no known price but on getting there, $750 was announced as the first prize while $500 goes to the second placed person/team. According to Mark Essien, the founder of Hotels.ng, he didn’t want the money to be a motivation because he wanted people who were really interested in solving problems using machine learning.

At the @hotelsng Machine Learning hackathon. #TechAfrica #MarkEssien

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The team led by Segun Famisa of Truppr.

The amazing @hotelsng development team. #TechAfrica

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The cool Hotels.ng development team, led by the delectable Lynda Chiwetelu.

@cyberomin and @dftaiwo came around as well. @hotelsng #machinelearning #hackathon

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Later, Celestine Omin of Konga and Femi Taiwo of the Lagos GDG came to check on the coders.

The coders hard at work. The environment was very comfortable and relaxing.

After the first set of presentation which mostly didn’t pan out well, everybody was given the opportunity to make changes to their code and try again.

One of the algorithms have a 64% cancellation rate on live data while another had a 99% cancellation rate. However, due to several inconsistencies, the winner has not been announced yet and the teams/developers have been given the opportunity to complete their stuff. I definitely look forward to meeting the eventual winner of this challenge.

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