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2019 HackWESCAM Showcases Innovative Thinking and Collaboration

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Forty highly motivated and extremely capable students participated in the 2nd annual HackWESCAM Hackathon, hosted by L3 WESCAM May 3-5, 2019 at the NUVO Network building in Burlington, Ont.

The challenge: fly and control multiple drones simultaneously, while detecting and identifying various targets. The location: A custom indoor drone course.

Arriving full of optimism, a healthy dose of trepidation and an open mind, the participants rose to this year’s A.I. and image processing themed challenge. With the help from L3 WESCAM mentors, teams were given the tools and feedback to advance their projects, but ultimately, it was up to them to push hard to succeed.

L3 WESCAM 2019 HackathonL3 WESCAM 2019 Hackathon
“This year’s HackWESCAM Hackathon was a tremendous success, and it was great to see our employees actively supporting and fostering the minds of tomorrow,” said Jacques Comtois, Vice President and General Manager and HackWESCAM judge. “This was also an amazing opportunity for students to learn more about our innovative products and solutions and the type of exciting roles L3 WESCAM offers.”

HackWESCAM teams are usually made up of four participants. This year, a standout team of two took second place. Team Hop Hop was comprised of drone enthusiast Jaden Bhimani, a Vaughn Secondary School student and innovator and his teammate, Mubtaseem Zaman, a 2nd year computer engineering student at the University of Toronto.

Jaden Bhimani explained, “It’s about being willing to suffer, being willing to push yourself further and harder than anyone else in the room, whether or not you know you’re going to get something out of it.” He added,“I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been told to keep my expectations in check because I’m only 16…But this weekend was a time I really realized how untrue that was.”

Mubtaseem Zaman echoed his teammate’s sentiment, “it’s all about the willingness to learn and to work hard. The gene for talent/success is a myth (since the definition for talent varies). Please don’t complain about how under privileged or under resourced you are. Nature follows statistics, and everyone is EQUALLY equipped with opportunities.”

HackWESCAM is all about opportunity and fostering growth for the leaders of tomorrow. Dr. Karen Haigh, Senior Fellow, Strategic Technology at L3 Communication Systems West hosted a workshop on A.I., and gave her support and encouragement to the teams.

“Perseverance is one of the hardest skills to learn, and you’ve already figured out how to do that! It should all be easy from here! Amazing work!” – Dr. Karen Haigh

In addition to the event challenge and the A.I.workshop, participants took a behind-the-scenes tour of the L3 WESCAM facilities, watched live turret demonstrations and participated in a resume and interviewing workshop.  From 50 Pesos food trucks to foosball, massage tables and sleeping mattresses, there was plenty to keep the brilliant young minds stimulated.
Food Truck 50 PEsos at HackWESCAM 2019

“Food, massage, sleeping mattresses, taxis for returning home, state of the art development tools, and what not! L3 WESCAM IS DEFINITELY THE BEST HOST EVER”. – Mubtaseem Zaman

Ultimately, five teams advanced to the event finals and had the opportunity to present to a panel of esteemed judges, comprised of L3 WESCAM’s very own:

Jacques Comtois, Vice President and General Manager, L3 WESCAM
Dr. Karen Haigh, Senior Fellow, Strategic Technology, L3 Communication Systems West
Vincent Hamel, Director, Electro-Optical Engineering, L3 WESCAM
James McAnanama, Staff Engineer, Electronics and Software, L3 WESCAM

L3 WESCAM 2019 Hackathon winners After careful consideration of each team’s performance and presentations, three teams took home top honours:

1st place: JAAM comprised of Maanav Dalal, Ahmed Diab, Andre Antunes and Jay Mody

2nd place: Hop Hop made up of Mubtaseem Zaman and Jaden Bhimani

3rd place: ACDM comprised of Manik Chaudhery, Arjun Mittal, Deep Pandya and Chandra Gummaluru

The event, documented on social media with the hashtag HackWESCAM was a resounding success. To check out some more images and some of the contestant’s posts, search your favourite social channel for #HackWESCAM. And for a look back at HackWESCAM I, visit our 2018 blog. To pre-register for next years event visit our Hackathon page in the careers section of our website.

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