“License to Krill” was the winning initiative of this year's version of the “Ocean Hackathon” (OH) scientific competition held at the Universidad de Concepción. The team that managed to win was composed of its leader Cristian Cofré, and his teammates Dantes Arduam, Danilo Astorga, Octavio Mercado, Yanara Morgunovsky, and Matilde Rivas, all of them from the Universidad Austral de Chile, with the exception of Matilde Rivas, who traveled from Santiago and who studies at the Universidad de Chile.
This year, the Ocean Hackathon Chile (OH) came with the challenge of "Oceans at Risk", intending to propose solutions to some of the main dangers that the ocean system is facing towards 2030. The Chilean version of the competition was organized by the French Embassy in Chile, the French Institute of Chile, and Inria Chile
For Inria Chile, it is essential to support efforts that seek to address pressing challenges, in which it is possible to contribute from research in digital technologies since our institution is a relevant agent of change in this area and an articulator of the ecosystem.
CEO of Inria Chile
The event, which took place at the Universidad de Concepción from November 17 to 19 in a 48-hour marathon, scientists, students, and professionals from different areas worked in teams to develop prototypes to solve current challenges of the oceans and the maritime world.
Para la UdeC es un orgullo recibir este evento, donde se junta la coordinación de las organizaciones, en una temática tan importante como es la sustentabilidad de los océanos, donde lo que hacemos es convocar talento para poder resolver problemas estratégicos en torno a esta”. Además, añadió la importancia de abogar por una mayor descentralización y que la OH pueda ocurrir en distintas partes, destacando que la universidad quiere estar presente siempre en trabajos colaborativos de este tipo.
Vice-Rector for Research and Development of the Universidad de Concepción
From Data Observatory, we are convinced that Chile can become a regional and global leader in applied data science. This is because we have an enormous, varied, and valuable volume of data from our territory, which, due to its geographical characteristics, places us in a position of comparative advantage over other countries.
Undoubtedly, this kind of challenges allow us to decentralize data science and integrate the regions, and talents interested in them, to continue advancing in this line".
Executive director of Data Observatory
The final was held on Sunday, November 19, at the UdeC campus, where each of the four teams presented a five-minute pitch in front of a jury composed of Patrick Flot, Counselor for Cooperation and Cultural Action of the French Embassy in Chile and Director of the French Institute; Andrea Rodríguez, Vice-Rector for Research and Development of the Universidad de Concepción; Julia Allirot, Director of Alliances and International Relations of Inria Chile and Diego Rodríguez, Lead Engineer of Data Observatory, the solution "License to Krill" was chosen as the winner.
In this Hackathon, which shows the relevance of Franco-Chilean cooperation, we saw very motivated teams, composed of bright young people working collaboratively to find solutions to a common challenge, preserving ocean ecosystems.
Counselor for Cooperation and Cultural Action of the French Embassy in Chile and Director of the French Institute
We are proud to have been part of this initiative, we have seen how the whole process of creation has developed until reaching the pitch, which has been good both in quality and presentation of the groups.
Director of the COPAS Coastal Center of the Universidad de Concepción
The winning team of the OH 2023 from Concepción will obtain two round-trip tickets and travel expenses for a week's stay to participate in the World Grand Finale organized by the Campus Mondial de la Mer in Brest, in the Brittany region of France, on December 19 of this year. In that instance, they will face 13 finalists from different parts of the world, and the three best projects will be chosen, which will receive financial support to further develop their ideas.
Learn more about “Licence to Krill”
One of the members of the winning team, Dantes Arduam, explains that “krill is one of the most important species that inhabits the Southern Peninsula, since the beings that live in this area, from whales to penguins, consume it. In addition, Krill feed on algae that absorb carbon dioxide, which are then placed on the bottom of the seabed. In this way, krill contributes to the feeding of species and decontamination.” He adds that currently, due to global warming and industrialized fishing, their existence is in danger.
Faced with this problem, the interdisciplinary team composed of students and teachers of the Universidad Austral de Chile, Cristian Cofré, a student of the Master's in Computer Science, Dantes Arduam, Bachelor of Science with a mention in Physics, Danilo Astorga, of Marine Biology, Yanara Morgunovsky, student of Marine Biology, Octavio Mercado, oceanographer from the Laboratory of Coupled and Biophysical Processes of the UACh and Matilde Rivas, student of the Master of Science with a mention in Computing at the Universidad de Chile. They are developing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) biogeophysical predictive model, based on neural networks, to estimate the krill population in Antarctica.
What is the Krill
Krill is a crustacean that lives in cold waters, particularly in Antarctica, there are different species, but the best known are those belonging to the genus Euphausia. It is essential for marine ecosystems, as it is a primary source of food for various marine species, such as whales, fish, penguins, and birds, among others. When consumed by larger animals, it creates a food chain in which it plays an essential role.
Krill harvesting has generated debates about its impact on marine ecosystems, as its role in the regulation of phytoplankton (by feeding on it) and the transfer of energy along the food chain is crucial. Because of this, sustainable management of its fishery has become fundamental to preserve marine ecological balances and ensure the survival of the species that depend on it.
Through the creation of this interactive platform, data will be delivered through machine learning, which can be visualized and thus, route optimizations for shipments can be created and protection policies created. based on the precise location of this species.
It makes me very happy to see all the effort we put from different areas, whether from applied sciences, engineering, design, among others, for the common goal that is to help the ocean and the planet.
It should be noted that OH 2023 was held simultaneously in 14 cities around the world, namely Bournemouth and Plymouth (United Kingdom), Cape Town (South Africa), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Peniche (Portugal), Rimouski (Canada) and Boulogne-sur-Mer, Brest, Cherbourg, La Rochelle, Nord de la Réunion, Nouméa and Toulon (France) and Concepción (Chile).