Posted on August 2, 2016 by staff

Manchester City hackathon won by decision-making algorithm


A machine learning algorithm which could be used to improve performance won the Manchester City hackathon.

The first football data hackathon held by a Premier League club attracted 400 applications from over 40 countries, with 60 making the final cut.

Those finalists, experts and students from the fields of tech, data and digital product design, were organised into 12 teams.

The #HackMCFC event gave the teams access to performance analysis systems as well as player and match data.

They were tasked with uncovering new insights into player performance by combining datasets from Opta and ChyronHego.

The winning algorithm developed by Ben Low, Ben Blackmore, Steven Hassall, Paul Robinson and Lasse Folkersen focused on decision-making in games.

Its potential for future implementation in match analysis impressed judges, who awarded them the £7,000 cash prize.

“Several of us have been to hackathons in the past, but nothing like this,” said the winning team.

“The quality of the datasets we had access to were unparalleled and the amazing facilities at the City Football Academy made this the ideal environment to innovate in.

“There was an incredible buzz across the whole weekend and having the opportunity to meet and work with new people who had completely different backgrounds allowed us to really push our boundaries.

“Manchester City is a world class club and it has been an absolute privilege to be involved in such an inspiring event.”

Artificial intelligence is affecting all areas of modern life – and the possibilities for business seem endless.

Edward Sulley, head of research and innovation for City Football Services, commented: “We are delighted with the success of Manchester City’s first football data hackathon.

“Across the City Football Group, we constantly strive to challenge ourselves to develop innovative ways of enhancing player performance and we believe good ideas can come from anywhere.

“The skills and talents this weekend’s participants demonstrated have opened up several insightful concepts and ideas and we look forward to exploring some of these further.

“Going forward, we want to continue exploring opportunities using this method of open innovation, both here in Manchester and at our sister clubs in New York, Melbourne and Japan.”

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