Mathematics can contribute a lot to problem solving in real-world applications when only a limited amount of data is available. As part of a hackathon, 30 participants from multiple research institutions came together in the Villa Engler of the Freie Universität Berlin to learn and apply mathematical methods to several challenging data sets.

The “Hackathon on Small Data Analysis” took place from January 22–24, 2024. Florian Beier (TUB), Robert Beinert (TUB), Luca Donati (FUB, ZIB), Martin Hanik (TUB, ZIB), Elodie Maignant (ZIB), Christoph von Tycowicz (ZIB), and Johannes Zonker (ZIB) organized it as part of the ongoing MATH+ Thematic Einstein Semester on “Small Data Analysis.”

The projects ranged from determining rare transitions in the configuration of a molecule to the modeling of whole hunter-gatherer societies. Apart from the methodological understanding, the participants were also introduced to the software design and management of code repositories. 

Young scientists from various backgrounds came together for the hackathon. They were able to apply their knowledge and skills to new research areas in addition to learning about new subjects and gaining practical experience. The attendees showed a strong desire to carry out the projects, demonstrating that these kinds of gatherings can serve as fruitful springboards for innovative research partnerships.

The developed code, along with additional tutorials and background material, is publicly available on the event’s GitHub page.

More background information on the event and the individual projects can be found on the homepage.