Carnegie Mellon University

Mark your calendars for the CMU VentureWell Energy Hackathon taking place Monday, March 23, 2020! As part of CMU Energy Week 2019, the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University hosted the inaugural CMU VentureWell Energy Hackathon. The competition was an opportunity for collegiate students to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing Honda, Chevron, the Port Authority of Allegheny County, and Pittsburgh Parking Authority.

Students worked in interdisciplinary teams to combine their energy expertise, data analytics, business intelligence and economic reasoning to solve a specific problem presented to them. Participants had the chance to win $2,000 and network with energy companies, expert judges and mentors.

The Hackathon kicked off on March 25 at 8:00am with breakfast and a presentation of challenges by companies. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions and meet company representatives during this time. Following the presentations, students had 24 hours to complete the challenge and prepare a presentation.

The Hackathon is supported by VentureWell and the Lemelson Foundation.


  • Must be a current student at a university or college.
  • Must be present in-person to attend the Kick-Off, Mentor Session, Final Presentations and Prize Distribution.
  • Must bring their own laptops for the challenge, as well as adaptors and slide advancers for presenting.

Final presentations will be judged based on the following  criteria:

Presentation Content:

  • Does the solution effectively address the challenge at hand?

  • Do the slides contain charts, graphs, tables, etc. to support recommendations?
  • How well has the team utilized the dataset to effectively inform recommendations?

  • Does the solution address critical points in the problem at hand?
  • Are recommendations aligned with current trends in the energy industry?
  • Has the team utilized other publicly-available datasets to further validate recommendations?

  • Can the solution be implemented?
  • Is the solution easy to implement?
  • Are recommendations backed by sound economic reasoning?

Presentation Style:
  • Did the team present their solution in a concise and articulate manner?
  • Did teams adhere to the slide limit?
  • Are the slides visually and aesthetically appealing?
  • Are team members able to respond to questions related to their solution?

The 2019 winners were:

  • First Place ($2000): Team Bottlerockets [Joshua Pope, Lilan Huang, and Kwaku Jymafi] (Chevron Challenge)
  • Second Place ($1000): Team Zap Bloom [Mohamed Abdelrahman and Bowo Akinlabi-Oladimeji] (Honda Challenge)
  • Third Place ($500): Team E-Saver [Siliang Lu, Sarthak Chakraborty, Shichen Yang, Qingyang Liu, and Lili Yu] (Port Authority of Allegheny County Challenge)
  • People's Choice ($250): Team HackOverflow [Athanasios Terzakis, Daksha Bopanna, Yuan Lee, and Wei Yu] (NextEra Energy Resources Challenge)