42 Heilbronn students win the Collabothon

by Sophie Heinz

Responsible surfing with Ecosurf

If the Internet would be a country, it would be the 7th largest polluter of all countries worldwide, and the numbers are rising. Web surfing is contributing actively to the carbon footprint of mankind. That’s where the idea of sustainable surfing behavior and responsible use of data come in - and with that: The ecosurf extension that our students during a Hackathon in July.

In the spirit of open innovation, the Collabothon brings together stakeholders from the financial industry and other sectors to explore and transfer cross-industry knowledge to create and develop innovative solutions. In the Collabothon, teams are formed from a mix of employees from corporations, startups, and academic institutions, as well as other innovative minds to foster a spirit of cross-industry collaboration. Within just 48 hours, a vision of the future is developed from scratch as a prototype and presented to the public.

This call was answered by the city of Łódź (Poland), Commerzbank and Google by our students Laura, Maria, Liga, Alf, Dominicas, Lars, Angel, Jonas, Arno and Jonathan from July 7-9, 2021.

42 Students participating Collabothon

Jonathan explains to us how the team programmed the extension:

"Built on several open data datasets, we created a simple extensions which uses a fast-caching method directly in ram.
When you load a google result page, we will query for the urls given, extract the hostnames (with subdomains) and sent them to our server.
Within milliseconds, millions of records are queried and the result is being sent compressed to you to provide minimal additional traffic footprint on your network. The server used to host the expressJS backend and the redis database is of course green hosted.

The initial prototype was built in under 24 hours with a dynamic team. We had a research division, a fact-checking division, design, presentation and a coding division. We tested our extension intensive on different computers before uploading new versions. With regular team meetings we stayed in shape and at the end of the hackathon, we had a nice looking, fully functional google chrome extension with a nice website providing more information on the topic and our internet surfing consequences on co2 emissions - and a beautiful presentation!

In the meantime, the extension is also available for Firefox, Opera and Chrome, and as of iOS 15 also for iOS and macOS. Download options here.

Congratulations to our students 🥳 . We are very proud of you and look forward to more hackathons 🚀.

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