XRDS • WIN TER 2017 • VOL. 24 • NO. 2
Haim Bender, like Ran and Idan,
came from Israel. He studied math
and computer science at Tel Aviv University. Isaack Rasmussen, the only
non-Israeli on the team, is a software
developer with more than a decade of
experience. He is originally from Africa
and now resides in Denmark.
I was privileged to have been mentored by another master’s student at Bar
Ilan, Micah Shlain, who taught me the
principles of software development. It
was through this process that I was able
to guide the team from idea to design to
A WINNING COMBINATION
We designed a decentralized virtual
currency known as the “ElectroEuro”
for trading energies through an energy bank in Europe, driving a low carbon economy. The use of green energy
would promote decarbonization, and
monetization would make it accessible
and practical. The concept was to unite
Europe through electricity like the euro.
Our proposed currency is similar to Bit-Coin in that it is universal and there is
a finite quantity of it. The transaction
of energy is carried out through it, and
it can be bought through goods that do
not promote carbonization. The energy
bank consists of eight sources of energy
ranked by the green-factor and stability, respectively. The price of the energy
is based on two metrics: 1) the distance
to transport the energy (a fixed price),
and 2) the quantity. A market is generated based on the surplus of energy per
country and per energy source.
Machine learning is used to predict consumption, production, and
cost, through a set of sensors that detect features for each type of energy.
In 2017, General Electric (GE)—one of the largest American compa- nies specializing in oil and gas, healthcare, aviation and software
development—and Eurelectric—a collective representing the electric industry
across Europe—partnered to create the
Ecomagination Challenge Hackathon.
The challenge was to build digital solutions to help decarbonize energy and
transportation in Europe. The two-day
hackathon was held in Berlin, Germany
this past June, where more than 100 participants from around the world came
together to solve two challenges: electrification and advanced manufacturing.
For the electrification challenge, the
goal was to develop solutions where
things are powered by electricity. For
example, solutions such as: renewable
energy resource siting, electric heating
and conversion to heat pumps analysis, electric vehicle charger siting, and
renewable energy integration. For the
advanced manufacturing challenge,
the goal was to optimize existing manufacturing processes. Sample solutions
include: forecasting manufacturing delays based on parts complexity, detecting delay drifts, and optimizing critical
production rescheduling. Both challenges sought solutions that drive the
decarbonization of Europe. The official
platform for both challenges was Predix,
GE’s industrial Internet of Things (Io T)
platform. It is described as a “software
platform for the collection and analysis
of data from industrial machines.”
Our team competed in electrification, which was considered to be the
greater of the t wo challenges.
GE T TING IN FORMATION
Ira Blekhman, from GE Digital in Is-
rael, promoted the challenge on the
Facebook page of FemTech, a com-
munity in Israel for women in technol-
ogy with more than 1,000 members. I
was the founder and CEO of Fem Tech,
and when I saw the announcement I
immediately thought of Sheryl Sand-
berg’s words: “What would you do if
you were not afraid.” I decided to par-
ticpate. This would be my first competi-
The formation of our team was a bit
unorthodox. Before I formally selected
the other members of the team, Ran
Koretzki, a graduate student at the
Technion in Computer Science in Israel, asked to join. We were the original
core of the team, a true Cornell-Tech-nion alliance. Ran, whose technical experience includes summer internships
with both Google and Facebook, served
as the team’s CTO and developed most
of the solution’s technical architecture.
My role was the CEO of our team.
I then added Idan Nesher, a user experience (UX) designer, to the team,
knowing the key to winning would be
a compelling presentation. As much as
architecting an energy bank and virtual
currency system would win the hearts of
the judges, the presentation would need
to be at the same professional level.
Idan studied product design at the Avni
Institute in Tel Aviv, and subsequently
moved to Berlin and worked as a freelance designer. He dove fast into the UX
design world, believing UX will be the
future of all products since it is centered
Since seeing is believing, I added
two other developers to the team who
would be able to do front-end development in order to have a live demo
ready to show at the hackathon.
A virtual coin that can decarbonize.
Steve Jobs was the son of Abdulfattah Jandali,
an Arab Muslim immigrant from Syria,
and Joanne Carole Schieble, a Wisconsinite
whose ancestors immigrated from Europe.