Climate and Sustainability Hackathon—Meet the Judges!

Climate and Sustainability Hackathon—Meet the Judges!

Back in October, we announced the first-ever Cloudera Climate and Sustainability Hackathon, powered by AMD. The Hackathon was intended to provide data science experts with access to Cloudera machine learning to develop their own Accelerated Machine Learning Project (AMP) focused on solving one of the many environmental challenges facing the world today. 

More than 2,300 data scientists competed in the Climate and Sustainability Hackathon—a record number of Cloudera Hackathon participants for an incredibly important cause. And that record number meant hard work for our judging panel, who were tasked with evaluating the nearly 200 innovative AMPs that our participants created to determine the top three winners.

The judging process took place over two phases from October 2023 to March 2024. In the first phase, the judges awarded points based on uniqueness and innovation of the idea and the problem it would solve; the approach to how the project would employ machine learning; the articulated benefits to the environment; and how differentiated the solution was from other applications. In phase two, the judges further narrowed the submission pool by evaluating the code quality, web application quality, and potential impact of the AMP.

The result? Three incredibly inspiring projects capable of targeting some of our most pressing climate challenges. But you’ll have to stay tuned to find out just who those winners are when we announce this week.

In the meantime, get to know some of the judges who made this Hackathon such a success.

Jake Bengtson

Jake is the Technical Evangelism Director at Cloudera, where he specializes in demonstrating how Cloudera’s Lakehouse supports Generative AI and the entire data lifecycle. His journey in Cloudera began as a Senior Product Marketing Manager over machine learning lifecycle products. Jake previously honed his skills at ExxonMobil, starting as a Data Scientist and eventually progressing to a Data Science and Analytics Solution Architect role. In addition, he held the role of Senior Data Scientist and Data Science Manager at FarmersEdge, adding a startup and geospatial facet to his experience.

Mike Hower

Mike Hower is a sustainability communication leader with experience on both sides of the podium — as a journalist and communication strategist for leading global companies. As the founder and fractional sustainability communication executive at Hower Impact, Mike works closely with companies to translate their sustainability strategy into stories that stick while navigating the risks and opportunities of an evolving communications landscape. Mike has served as a communication strategist at both large and small consultancies, including Edelman, and has led in-house communication efforts at mission-driven startups. Mike shares insights and ideas as a LinkedIn influencer, writing his ENGAGE newsletter and blog, and hosting “The Sustainability Communicator” podcast.

Debbie Kruger

Debbie is the Director of Internal Communications and Social Impact at Cloudera, where she’s led innovative strategies in social impact and employee engagement for the past two years. With a background spanning from corporate giants like Marsh & McLennan Companies and Verizon to fashion retailer ANN INC., Debbie brings cross-industry experience developing impactful CSR initiatives that leverage corporate resources to make sustainable and long-lasting impacts on companies, climate, and communities.

Vijay Sudan

Vijay is a seasoned corporate responsibility and sustainability executive with experience leading global environmental sustainability strategy for three different Fortune 100 companies, most recently at The Walt Disney Company. Previously, he managed global Social Impact initiatives for 21st Century Fox and led News Corporation’s Global Energy Initiative, helping them to become the first carbon-neutral global media company in 2010.

Yi-Hsun Tsai

Yi-Hsun Tsai is a Senior Engineering Manager of the Enterprise AI Platform team at Cloudera, where he has led the team building the Enterprise AI & ML platform for supporting end-to-end machine learning & Generative AI operations. Prior to Cloudera, Yi-Hsun was a founding team member of Sense, which later became the Cloudera Data Science Workbench and Cloudera Machine Learning, as well as a founding team member of the Post TV video team at Washington Post and built the Post TV platform for serving live streaming or video on demand from the Washington Post newsroom. Yi-Hsun holds a Master of Science in Engineering in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania. Originally from Taiwan and now based in San Francisco, Yi-Hsun enjoys traveling around the globe with his wife and his six-year-old son when he is not building the next generation of Enterprise AI platform with his team.

Check in next week for the winner announcement and learn more about Cloudera’s AMD community here.  

Molly Boyer
Senior Director, Global Communications & Analyst Relations
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