ASGARD Hackatons

Talk Analysis System for Gathered Raw Data - Hackatons


Oneliner: An intriguing research project I participated in during my PhD.

During my PhD, I participated in an European project called ASGARD – short for Analysis System for Gathered Raw Data. It was a very large scale project, to which dozens of entities contributed (from industry, academia, as well as law-enforcers).

The scope of the project was to develop a platform comprising multiple tools – each with a specific purpose, but all sharing a common goal: assist Police forces throughout all Europe to combat cybercrime. In particular, ASGARD had (unstructured) data at its core, and the main challenge was finding a use of such data to fulfill the intended purpose.

In my case, I developed a tool focused on time-series forecasting of posts in forums, which could be used to predict when a malicious user could instigate (or enact) a criminal offense.

I “joined” this project at the beginning of 2017, and continued working on it until 2019. During this timeframe, a lot of hackatons were held so that all contributors could agree on the progress made and define the future goals.

Specifically, I participated in 5 of such hackatons:

  • the first one held in Stockholm, Sweden (Oct. 2017)
  • the second one in Paris, France (Nov. 2017)
  • the third one in Palma, Spain (May. 2018)
  • the fourth one in Athens, Greece (Nov. 2018)
  • the fifth one in The Hague, Netherlands (Nov. 2019)

Overall, I enjoyed participating in this project: aside from getting some experience in the context of time-series forecasting, it allowed me to see how complex it is to develop real and large scale systems. Such systems have to orchestrate components made via the contributions of different entities, and the “approval” was made by people who were completely obvivious of the technical aspects of the actual system.

I consider myself fortunate to have contributed to ASGARD (and hopefully my tool is helpful!): not many researchers were able to see – with their own eyes – how real systems are built.

UPDATE (6 Oct. 2022): the ASGARD project won the Collaborative Innovative Technology Award!