Behind the Scenes of Arcesium’s Annual Hackathon

May 31, 2024
Read Time: 5 minutes
Unified Data

From in-person gatherings that tackled developer wish lists, hackathons have blossomed — spurred by technological connectivity — into global events that serve varying needs, from skills development to talent testing to more serious problem solving and invention. Hackathons are a popular activity for many organizations to foster team building, nurture innovative solutions, showcase talent, and enable connection and collaboration.

According to the most recent data from, 5,636 public and internal hackathons were organized worldwide in a single year! Whatever their purpose, what hackathons all have in common is partnership, experimentation, and an intense focus on making ideas real.

2023 Hackathon: Arcesium-style

Six teams claimed prizes in Arcesium’s most recent hackathon, a much-anticipated annual event that allows employees to showcase their ingenuity, design skills, and endurance. The vibe is embedded in the term hackathon, which celebrates the free-spiritedness of a “hack” with the competitive collaboration and tough countdown clock of a “marathon.”

Karthik Rajamanickam, Senior Vice President, Technology, says, “Fostering innovation and enabling team effort and bonding are at the core of our Hackathon and our employees love the opportunity to work on projects outside their domain.” In addition to the thrill of the prize, participants know that shortlisted or winning solutions will be further evaluated and may eventually be included in the company’s R&D roadmap and for future implementation. It’s high stakes.

RELATED READING: Why Your Company Should Establish a Hackathon

By the numbers

Arcesium’s 2023 Hackathon saw a significant increase in the number of participants — over 440 employees divided among 146 teams, more than double the number in 2019 (200 participants and 71 teams) and a significant bump since 2021 (330 participants, 105 teams). Participants drew from Arcesium’s five offices across the globe and could take part either in person or virtually.

The rising number of participants is also a nod to Arcesium’s accelerated growth. At its 2015 launch, the company comprised only 300 employees at offices in New York and Hyderabad. Now the firm employs nearly 2,000 software engineering, accounting, operations, and treasury professionals, with offices in London and Bangalore added in 2020 and in Delhi in 2021.

As in previous years, the 2023 Hackathon offered many ways for Arcesium employees to shine, regardless of role or geography. Self-selected teams of five members or more were capped at three Technology team participants. Teams that included at least two new employees (joined in 2023) were eligible for a special competition category, Newbie.

With six categories to pick from, ranging from The Best Hack to Best Data Analytics and Visualization, participants could choose how best to deploy their talents in 30 hours. Judging the teams’ results — code plus a demo or prototype presented in a five-minute video — were six company executives from Arcesium’s Technology, Product Management, and Client and Partner Development teams. To make the final selections, judges held a Q&A with each of the 12 shortlisted teams.

The challenge

Each edition of our Hackathon defines a theme that is related to Arcesium’s ecosystem. The 2023 Hackathon Committee chose the challenge: Accelerating Data Strategy with Aquata.

Participants were encouraged to generate innovative solutions applicable to the domain-aware platform, competing for these categories:

  • Grand Hack — judge-selected overall winner
  • The People’s Choice — audience-selected winner
  • Newbie — best idea from teams with at least two new hires
  • Best Data Integration — best solution for data ingress/egress
  • Best Data Governance — best solution for a data governance principle
  • Best Data Analytics and Visualization — best presentation solution that maximizes data’s value

The winners

The six judges were challenged to narrow this year’s submissions to six winning solutions. “Every year we get more and more implementations that are close to production ready,” said Mitya Miller, Senior Vice President and one of this year’s judges. “And every year we raise the benchmark for the following.”

Arcesium’s Aquata platform, named for the fluidity with which it manages data processes from ingestion to distribution, benefits from this year’s winners.

Here are the winning teams and their champion solutions:

Grand Hack: 418 I’m a teapot

  • Hack: Backed by an operational platform data warehouse, the tool allows users to derive analytics and visualizations from underlying data without a separate learning curve.
  • The proposed solution abstracts the technical complexities around building these analytics and visualization by allowing the user to interact with the system through natural language prompts, ensuring a great end user experience. This was built over AWS Bedrock with OpenSearch as the vector index and Argo serving as the workflow orchestration layer.

The People’s Choice: Hackerman

  • Hack: Interactive natural language processing tool integrated with BI analytics
  • The proposed solution reimagines the way our customers can operate on their data in a conversational style through natural language instructions. This approach clearly abstracts away from the technical complexities around knowing the underlying data model itself.

Newbie: HACKuna Maquata

  • Hack: Tool that enables counterparty data to flow into Aquata and enables use cases for reconciliation as well as broker data analytics and dashboards.
  • The proposed solution uses native capabilities of Aquata including pipelines along with workflow orchestration with Argo workflows. Looker is used to build visualizations.

Best Data Integration: Aqvengers

  • Hack: In support of Aquata’s analytics capabilities, the tool enables interoperability between Excel and Aquata so that users can solve various use cases independently and extensively without having to relearn their technical know-how.
  • The proposed solution enables userbase from operations to leverage the power of Aquata through inputs in the form of an excel. The integration creates pipelines with the required transformation blocks to provide the needed output and visualizations in a few clicks. This was built over the native capabilities of Aquata along with Apache Superset for visualizations.

Best Data Governance: Hackitects

  • Hack: Component that can be integrated with Aquata’s data catalog to automatically generate documentation (field description) and an entity-relationship diagram.
  • The proposed solution enables a faster and efficient way to describe and document the definitions of the data model within the catalog. The descriptions are generated based on the existing knowledge base within the Arcesium ecosystem with additional suggestions from the LLM. This is built over Aquata and uses an open source LLM from Meta along with SQLAlchemy.

Best Data Analytics and Visualization: Team_xyz+

  • Hack: Aquata assistant to generate reports based on user queries.
  • The proposed solution envisions a self-service capability through a chatbot for users to generate reports over data sets that they interact with. The reports can be in a tabular form or visualizations. This is built over native capabilities of Aquata and AWS Sagemaker to build and host the NLP capabilities for the chatbot. Looker is used for visualizations.

We are proud of our winners and the client-centric approach they continue to demonstrate. From our pioneering roots launching a purpose-built platform for the investment community, we continue to seek solutions that enhance our clients’ ability to drive their businesses forward.

Find out more about how we do business and opportunities for creative thinkers at Arcesium.


1 Infographic: Worldwide Hackathon figures in 2018 and trends to expect in 2019. January 18, 2019. Pierre-Jean (PJ) Quenardel.

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