January 7, 2022
Avi Soclof, a graduate of Fuchs Mizrachi School in Beachwood, recently co-created a search engine for Israeli NGO at Jerusalem College of Technology Men’s Hackathon.
As part of the team of international JCT students including Yaakov Elfassy of Monsey, N.Y., Yishai Dredzen of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Eli Hawk of Woodmere, N.Y., Soclof co-created a new web-based search engine for Toldot Yisrael, an Israeli NGO that captures the stories of Jews who came to Israel pre-1948.
They created a mechanism to search for specific words mentioned in the historic interviews from Toldot Yisrael that capture the stories of those who lived through the founding of the state of Israel. The mechanism allows people to search for any word embedded in any interview, allowing users to search their database of 4,000 hours of video interviews in an efficient manner, according to a news release.
Scolof, a computer science student at the college’s International Program in English, praised the intensity of the hackathon which enabled him to “get a handle on new technology and propelled me to learn more and enroll in extracurriculars outside of the university. For example, I took the initiative to enroll in a course on how to build a website from scratch,” he said in the release.
The hackathon is organized by the LevTech Entrepreneurship Center of JCT, which also includes a pre-accelerator program to help students turn their ideas into products and start-ups. Over 100 Orthodox and
Ultra-Orthodox Jerusalem College of Technology Israeli and international students took part in the hackathon, working on challenges presented by the likes of Intel, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Medtronic, SpotReality, Toldot Yisrael and the Israeli Police.
“All of the students that participated in the hackathon were amazing and showed tremendous effort and creativity,” Orlee Guttman, co-founder of the LevTech Entrepreneurship Center, said in the release. “They learned new technologies in a matter of hours and then created new products using them. As we’ve seen in past years, their innovation and drive continues after the hackathon as well, as they work to bring these products to market, improve consumer experience and business efficiency, and often help save lives at the same time.”
The winners were selected by nine judges from Israeli and international companies. First place went to the team behind Wi-Find, an easy-to-use solution using inexpensive components that can pick up data from the signals around it, in places where GPS and Bluetooth can’t be used. They developed a way to process the information and map out the exact location of any object. There are endless uses for this technology, especially in places with lifesaving and/or expensive mobile equipment, such as hospitals, construction sites, and more.
“Usually it takes about a week for participants to create working demos at a hackathon. To see the level of demos these students built in just 48 hours, and the creativity and innovation that went along with it, was really quite unique,” Tomer Simon, chief scientist at Microsoft Israel R&D Center and a judge at the hackathon, said in the release. “The energy of the students was amazing, and it was very nice to see the challenge-oriented format that connected the students to companies which helps prepare them for real challenges in the business world. Overall, the level of implementation and self-learning was tremendous and the hunger for the students to push themselves was evident.”