Re: Hackathon concept and deliverables - request for comment

Massimo Pizzol

Dear all


Seems like it would be useful to have a sort of “meta” reflection and formalize the “why and how and what” of this hackathon, so that we can have clear goals and optimize the work. I have prepared a draft (attached), hoping this can be of help. Not sure how/where I should upload it (github or google docs…the latter probably best for comments?). Let me know.

Thanks Brandon for sharing your paper. I think what you have formalised there is quite reasonable (I wrote something on this line here some time ago) so OK for me to follow these suggestions.







Massimo Pizzol 


DCEA | Department of Planning

Aalborg University (DK)


Mobile: +45 2067 5275


From: <> on behalf of Brandon Kuczenski <bkuczenski@...>
Reply-To: "" <>
Date: Friday, 22 February 2019 at 00.10
To: "" <>
Subject: Re: [hackathon2019] Hackathon concept and deliverables - request for comment


You just wanted to show off that princess photo!


Thanks for conceiving and enacting the hackathon project, and for sending out this introduction. I have some comments that I wanted to send out right away as a "hot take" (acknowledging that one purpose of such a missive is to provoke responses), and I will also have some (perhaps more reasoned) comments later.


The task you have conceived of is exciting and useful. And probably achievable.


My first critique is: none of those is a deliverable; those are tasks. The deliverables should be things that we can look at and send around. Perhaps the deliverables would be the outputs resulting from those tasks executing successfully. But we should be precise in specifying them. "An RDF database containing EXIOBASE in terms of the BONSAI ontology." and there should be some standard by which we decide whether the deliverable has been met. (e.g. querying "x" against the database should return "y" from EXIOBASE). Maybe writing these tests is itself in-scope for the hackathon. (in which case: perhaps "operating unit tests for EXIOBASE import" is a reasonable deliverable?")


Second: Well, (b) is a kind of a deliverable.. I suspect what you mean is more like "a document that reports the group's consensus on" those standards. But I want to observe that one such standard has already been proposed: (  The work in that paper was intended to achieve this goal. I humbly offer it for consideration (and possibly rejection on grounds) prior to the hackathon, since it might help us move the ball down the field. The key utilities of this framework are:

(1) it provides a precise statement of a narrowly scoped process-flow model which can be easily revised and parameterized, 

(2) it explicitly requires linkages to remote data sources, and

(3) it explicitly excludes elementary flow matching, assuming the solution to that problem to be located in (2).

A product system model disclosure includes: three entity lists (of foreground flows, background flows, and emissions), and three sparse matrices that connect the entities to one another. One could easily imagine the entries in the entity lists to simply be references to the RDF database.


There is also a (semi-)working brightway implementation: ( that casts a BW2 database to a JSON document according to the framework; writing an RDF output would not be hard.


Really, I am just fishing for critical feedback on my disclosures proposal. But I do think it's relevant.







On Thu, Feb 21, 2019 at 2:01 PM Chris Mutel <cmutel@...> wrote:

Dear Hackathon participants:

It is time to start preparing in earnest for our joint work at the end of March.

The following deliverables are required at the end of our time together:

a) Matching of EXIOBASE to the BONSAI ontology set, and import into an RDF database
b) Standards and implementation for updatable (transparent, executable) LCI data models
c) Matching of output from b to the same ontology, and import into an RDF database
d) Export of a reconciled database containing both input sources

This is already quite a lot, so I don't think we need to add more tasks, at least for now!

To actually accomplish these objectives in a large, diverse, and dispersed team, I propose that we follow the UNIX philosophy (, namely that we have a set of tools that each do one thing well. The BONSAI ontology can form the foundation for how these individual tools can transfer data with each other - in particular, the standards developed in task b become much easier if we just require the interface language spec to be the set of ontologies that BONSAI will use.

The model in task b will be either European electricity generation, distribution, trade, and losses/conversion; or, a model of automobile transportation where one can specify the model, number of passengers, etc. The groundwork for both of these models has already been done at PSI.

Before going into detailed planning, I would like your first reactions to the concept of the hackathon. If you are not familiar with these ideas, I have written a bit about my specific vision here:



Brandon Kuczenski, Ph.D.
Associate Researcher

University of California at Santa Barbara
Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5131

email: bkuczenski@...

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