Participants of the hackathon working on exciting research challenges.

“Maths meets Image” – a 3-day-hackathon on image reconstruction, segmentation and shape analysis took place in March 2022. It was organised by Felix Ambellan (FU Berlin, ZIB), Robert Beinert (TU Berlin), Christoph Kolbitsch (PTB), Kostas Papafitsoros (WIAS) and Christoph von Tycowicz (FU Berlin, ZIB) as part of the Thematic Einstein Semester on Mathematics of Imaging in Real-World Challenges.

Mathematics is an integral part of imaging but often there is a gap between mathematical models and real-world data which hinders wide-spread application of exciting new research. A group of 36 participants from 12 different research institutions came together in the typical Berlin venue The Classroom to bridge this gap and address challenging research tasks in small interdisciplinary teams. The projects ranged from detecting Alzheimer’s progression, improving image quality of cardiac images to finding out how prehistoric civilisations created stone tools. To work together successfully as a team, participants had to get their heads around software design, version control and management of code repositories. All the developed code is publicly available together with additional tutorials and background material: They could also demonstrate their soft skills during the coffee breaks when challenged with building a house of cards or identifying sea turtles based on the pattern of their scales.

The hackathon brought together young scientists from different backgrounds. It allowed them not just to learn about new topics but to get hands-on experience and to translate their skills and knowledge to new research areas. Many of the participants expressed great enthusiasm to continue with the projects, showing that such events can be a successful starting point for inspiring research collaborations.

Photo: © Robert Beinert