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Monday 18:00

Kick-Off Hackweek

Get practical experience outside of the lecture halls - Online / ETH (BLUE)

Workshop and introduction to the VIS-Infrastructure for Development.

Wednesday 19:00

Screening: Opening

Opening by Nicole Wenzinger and David Kalchofner - Online / ETH (RED)

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Opening by Nicole Wenzinger and David Kalchofner - Online / ETH (BLUE)

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Wednesday 19:15

Screening: Meaningful relationships and sense of purpose in a time of crisis

Keynote by Ekaterina Kamenskaya - Online / ETH (RED)

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The coronavirus outbreak is dramatically changing our lives, including relationships in our communities, families, homes and workplaces. One of the most effective strategies for slowing the pandemic is phy...

Meaningful relationships and sense of purpose in a time of crisis

Keynote by Ekaterina Kamenskaya - Online / ETH (BLUE)

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The coronavirus outbreak is dramatically changing our lives, including relationships in our communities, families, homes and workplaces. One of the most effe...

The coronavirus outbreak is dramatically changing our lives, including relationships in our communities, families, homes and workplaces. One of the most effective strategies for slowing the pandemic is physical or so called “social” distancing. However, distancing clashes with the human need to connect with others. Research shows that being socially connected in meaningful ways is a key to human health and survival.
We will talk about ways to foster a sense of authentic connection, create communities for receiving and giving support, and find opportunities to innovate and create, changing the focus from “me” to “we” and thereby making a difference to the broader world.

Wednesday 20:10

5G Security Evolution

Security challenges and solutions in 5G networks - Online / ETH (BLUE)

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"Is 5G more or less secure than the existing generations of the mobile networks?" - this question nowadays is quite often raised by the industry, media and p...

We will shortly talk about the next generation of the mobile networks 5G, it's use cases and main characteristics. Then we'll elaborate on the main security challenges brought by 5G, and further deep dive into how 5G security is addressed, both by the standardisation bodies like 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) and GSMA (GSM Association), and by the network operators like Swisscom. We will cover such key 5G security-enabling technologies like SBA (Service Based Architecture) and usage of HTTP/2, network slicing, unified access-agnostic authentication, enhanced 5G NR (New Radio) security (SUCI, Subscription Concealed Identifier and User Plane integrity protection), Roaming security (SEPP, Security Edge Protection Proxy) and others. We will also see how 5G security is compared to previous (existing) mobile network generations like 4G/LTE, and in the end reference some interesting sources to learn more on the topic.

User vs. Security - or why “RTFM” is not good advice

Online / ETH (RED)

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IT would be so much simpler if it wasn’t for the user, right? Especially when it comes to IT Security. “Layer 8” is one of the biggest threats to data securi...

Mature handling of information technology requires a minimum of understanding. Most IT-users have sufficient knowledge to use the Internet, post messages or send pictures to their friends. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to handle their own or their company’s data in a responsible and self-determined manner. The problem has long been recognised and addressed by a field named “Security Awareness”. How? By deploying (communication) measures that inform, train and educate users on the topic of information security.

Currently, the human factor is one of the greatest threats to the security of data and information for organisations: Social engineering is increasingly becoming the preferred method of criminal hackers to gain illegal access. Is security awareness not working? If so, why? And what needs to be done?
This talk takes a look at the current situation of security awareness and why an interdisciplinary approach is long overdue.

Thursday 19:00

Building a Covid-19 Contact Tracing App for Switzerland - Privacy Challenges and How We Solved Them

Online / ETH (RED)

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In this talk, I'll explain different architectures for building contact tracing apps for Covid-19, focussing on the privacy challenges of different designs. ...

How does Zoom Store Recordings?

Reverse Engineering C++ and Custom File Formats - Online / ETH (BLUE)

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Like many others, we found ourselves having to move to online meetings - specifically Zoom, after the ETH closed in the beginning of March 2020.
When rec...

In theory Zoom has a really great feature to record every person's audio separately.
This is really great for recording our weekly meetings, as sometimes people are too quiet or too loud and allows us to fix such issues in post.
Unfortunately, when exporting, Zoom will automatically remove any periods of silence from the resulting audio files, making this impossible.
However, Zoom also stores the recording in temporary files, which allowed me to get the original audio as well as video.

In the first section of the talk, I will go into detail on how I was able to reverse engineer the file format and which pitfalls I fell into.
Starting at finding the right library responsible for handling these files to finally cracking the code on the way video was stored.
All in all, attendees will learn a great detail of reversing tricks as well as how they might go about building their own file format.
Nonetheless, only some minor knowledge of general software development and programming is needed to follow along.

Before I delve into the details of the file format, the architecture used to orchestrate recordings and transcoding will be explained.
The architecture ...

Thursday 20:00

Inside a robot’s brain

Deep dive on how to make autonomous robots think - Online / ETH (RED)

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Navigating from A to B is a trivial task for humans, even when it comes to dynamic or crowded environments. But does this also apply to autonomous mobile rob...

Autonomous mobile robots will soon be carrying out repetitive, unhygienic and dangerous work in airports, railway stations, construction sites or department stores. This way robots contribute to making human workplaces more interesting and safer again thanks to their support - all while boosting operational efficiency.
For this important mission, autonomous robots need to be able to move independently and safely in all environments. This requires tackling a number of technological challenges such as navigating in complex environments shared with people, achieving precise positioning and safe motions even in the presence of dynamic obstacles. In addition, mobile robots have limited compute capabilities, thus requiring the development of highly efficient and sophisticated algorithms.
In this talk we give an introduction to the main software components that enable autonomous mobile navigation. To name only a few, we will answer the following questions: How to make robots precisely estimate their positions and maintain digital maps of their environments? How to make robots differentiate between static and dynamic obstacles? How to make robots plan and execute safe but efficient...

Can you fix the world with a startup?

Tales from crafting a business model around truly sustainable cloud computing - Online / ETH (BLUE)

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Sustainability is not a business model. Therefore, in this talk you'll learn how to take a great idea about how to use Software to improve sustainability and...

Friday 19:00

Digital Building Twins

Why is it so cold in here? - Online / ETH (BLUE)

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Conventional buildings are major energy consumers and emitters of carbon dioxide. There is a lot of room for optimization especially when it comes to heating...

Conventional buildings are major energy consumers and emitters of carbon dioxide. There is a lot of room for optimization especially when it comes to heating and cooling buildings. Modern buildings are equipped with thousands of sensors that measure environmental data and actuators that control heating valves, fans, lights and other things. By combining data from these sensors and actuators with meta-data such as a construction models we create a digital representation of a building, a digital twin. A digital twin is a platform for all kinds of applications or services that make use of building meta-data and live or historic data. We can monitor and optimize energy consumption or run simulations. Thus, a digital twin is an important tool to reach sustainability goals for a building. Creating a digital twin is a technical challenge as there is a lot of heterogeneity in the things in a building and the protocols and application models that are used.

At Siemens, we use open standards to tackle the technical challenges of creating a digital twin. In this session you will learn about the W3C Web of Things standard and how we combine it with semantic web technologies and knowledge...

Attacking and Defending Web Applications

The Best Defense is a Strong Offense - ETH (C)

A lot has changed since the invention of the internet and the world wide web.
It has become essentially impossible to imagine a setting where no web applications — such as webshops, messaging applications or social media sites — ex...

Part I: Introduction to Web Security (ca. 1h)

In the first part of the talk, attendees will be introduced to the world of web apps with an overwhelming focus on their security.
First, we will give an overview of the most common technologies used throughout modern web apps, such as Python + Flask, PHP, MySQL, etc.
Next, attendees will receive a brief but broad introduction into many different types of vulnerabilities and ways to exploit them.
Starting at one of the - if not the - most well known vulnerability, an SQL injection, and ending with some rather exotic - although still very relevant - ones, such as Server Side Request Forgery (SSRF) or broken JSON Web Tokens (JWT).

Part II: Attack and Defense (ca. 2h)

The second part focuses on putting the skills learned in the first part to practical use.
Initially, attendees will be divided into small team.
Every team will have a server assigned, with a small toy web app running.
The web app is the same for every team and has multiple vulnerabilities that can be exploited in various ways.
The goal is to first identify the vulnerabilities, then patch them on your server, while sim...

Digital integrity of the human person, proposal for a new fundamental right.

Online / ETH (RED)

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Every human evolves today in multi-dimensional physical and digital environment. If each individual is to keep its individuality and autonomy in its daily ch...

Hack the Hacker - the escape room


A click on a link in an email infects the computer system of your organization with ransomware. It's up to you and your team to rescue the data. The mission of your team is to find the code that revokes the encryption executed by the malicious sof...

«Hack The Hacker» is a Security Awareness training, that raises interest in security topics and transfers sustainable knowledge through fun and teamwork. Together with up to five people you have to solve security related puzzles in an analogue game environment in the escape room. 
In order to prepare you and your team for this adventure, two experts from SWITCH-CERT will give you an introduction into security and provide you with basic knowledge that might come in handy during the game. In a debriefing, we’ll discuss the experienced security aspects and try to answer any open question.

Friday 20:00

How can we improve our handling of technology's negative effects?

Without paying attention to the root causes of technology’s negative effects we are condemned to a losing battle, as these effects are increasing in amount and complexity. - Online / ETH (RED)

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The manner in which we invent and apply technology is not only creating ever more negative effects, but ever more complex ones as well. This produces a widen...

Each further step taken in the evolution of digital technologies and technologies in general offers us an additional mix of advantages and disadvantages. We gladly accept the advantages and try to manage the disadvantages as well as we can. But each further step causes something more fundamental: yet more technology focus, more technological definitions and standardizations, more influencing or displacing of the human through the technological. As the saying goes: everything in moderation – but does our current culture of technology have a sense of moderation, a sense of other values than the technological? For freedom and diversity? If we want to maintain our humanity we must start paying far greater attention to the causal relations between us humans and technology.

Internet tracking, tracing, profiling ... and manipulation?

Is there a subtle form of manipulation as a result of tracking and profiling? - Online / ETH (BLUE)

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Tracking, the practice of collecting user data when browsing or using apps, may be perceived as a side effect of any internet usage. Tracking-based profiling...

Friday 21:10

Beerpong with HoloLens 2

Using cutting edge Mixed-Reality tech to play Beerpong - Online / ETH (BLUE)

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As mixed reality is slowly getting traction in the modern world, coding applications for the HoloLens keeps getting easier. At VIScon 2019 we saw that we can...

Lessons Learned from 127 IT-startups of ETH Alumni

Dos and Donts - based on the insights of all interviewed entrepreneurs - Online / ETH (RED)

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How to become independant, build a company and make sustainable profits, based on the IT skills you have today?

In order to answer this question I interviewed the founders of 127 IT-startups of ETH-Alumni, IT-startups, I could get hold of. They revealed to me their secrets about their entrepreneurial successes and failures. The result is a cook-book leading to entrepreneurial success for IT entrepreneurs.

Saturday 13:00

How Machine Learning is making harbours safer

Learnings from building an easy to use Machine Learning Platform - Online / ETH (RED)

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The basics of machine learning are already known for a while now. However, only with the development of high-capacity computers can machine learning be used ...

The development of a machine learning platform which is available to a broad mass of users enables a fast distribution of those technological possibilities. With this platform BSI empowers companies to improve their operational processes. Furthermore, we support marketing agencies in their targeting or data scientists in creating their own machine learning models. During this talk we would like to present a few examples that show how diverse this platform can be applied and how technically mature the platform already is. A special focus will be laid on the software solution created for the Harbour of Hamburg which supports the maintenance of the cranes. Additionally, we will grant a worthwhile insight into our thoughts about the design and share our experience with the different ideas of approaches we had. We will share what went well and where we still need to improve.

Reinventing Access Control with IoT: A Cloud-based Innovation in an Incumbent Industry

Online / ETH (BLUE)

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Who is allowed in? Who only conditionally? Who no longer? Dormakaba, a provider of security and access solutions in a conservative industry, were one of the ...

Saturday 14:00

Just Another Day in Operations

The Art of Keeping Stuff Running - ETH (D)

Suppose you’re working for a software company and you’re tasked with making sure your server application is running smoothly at all times. How do you do that? Join this workshop to find out!

Running an application isn’t just about writing code and deploying it. You also have to make sure it runs. When your server runs out of disk space and there’s a random crash in the middle of the night, someone will have to get up and fix it, or your users will be unhappy.

But ideally, you could fix such issues before they happen. Monitoring is the answer. But how does it work? In this workshop, we will show you which tools you can use to predict the future and prevent failures before they occur. We provide a live service and you’ll be able to debug simulated issues, practicing your skills in a real-world scenario. You will need a laptop with internet access, and we will provide the rest.

This workshop does not require any pre-existing knowledge, we will teach you everything from scratch.

In agile mission to Mars


With agile methods to Mars! The task is both an introduction to agile methods and a Scrum simulation. Three groups per 60 minute session compete against each other.

Each group consists of a Product Owner (ti&m coach), a developer team (programming), model builder team (design and construction) and surface designer team (construction of the ramp, terrain and garage). The 3 teams each build a Mars robot according to requirements from the backlog.

Iteratively, the teams approach the demanding requirements: Example: driving curves, reversing, overcoming 45° inclines, avoiding obstacles, etc. This task is not easy to solve and can only be successfully completed thanks to the agile approach and ongoing motivation. Communication, creativity and team spirit is the key to success here.

Unrailed! - Post Mortem

From Gamelab to Industry - Online / ETH (BLUE)

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Our journey of developing an international successful video game in midst of our master studies.

As a group of master students, we founded the ETH Spin-off, Indoor Astronaut, to finish and publish a video game (“Unrailed!”) which we prototyped during the Game Programming Lab lecture. Now, more than two years later, the project is coming to an end and want to give an overview of our journey.

How to mine the planet

About accessing and visualizing OpenStreetMap open data and more - Online / ETH (RED)

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In this talk we'll learn the various ways on how to retrieve and visualize Points-of-Interest (POI) from OpenStreetMap (OSM), such as restaurants, schools...

We at Geometa Lab are often being asked at hackathons or by startups: How can one access OpenStreetMap data for data analysis? And how can geospatial data (short geodata), specifically Points-of-Interest (POI) be visualised using Python/Jupyter Notebooks or JavaScript/webapps? OpenStreetMap (OSM) is the largest citizen science project about vector data of planet earth which we're using here at Geometa Lab as a gold mine in mobility, tourism, planning and spatial data analytics in general.

So we first show some open source libraries we're using to access OSM data, like OSMnx for Python and query-overpass for JavaScript, which both use the cryptic Overpass service. And we show some libraries to visualize geodata as interactive thematic web maps, like matplotlib (or Plotly) for Python and Mapbox GL JS for JavaScript.

Then, we also disclose the "magic 3 steps" of location analytics which combines own data with foreign open data. One can do this since location is "the universal foreign key": Given geonames or address data, step one is to geocode it (i.e. adding a coordinate attribute), then step two is to spatially join (i.e. combining) it with 3rd party geod...

Saturday 15:00

Developing accessible Software

Why the current effort is not enough - Online / ETH (BLUE)

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Since the introduction of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the ARIA standard, the awareness of accessibility rose and it became much easie...

The live demonstration will be conducted by the additional speaker Werner Hänggi.
Werner Hänggi's speaker biography: Since 2002 Werner Hänggi works as a Senior Software Engineer at the software company AdNovum Informatik AG, where he is part of the UX team since the beginning of 2018. He is severely visually impaired and therefore, accessibility and assistive technology play an important part in his everyday life. Werner Hänggi has committed himself to the development of accessible software for many years now and conducts talks and lectures about accessibility regularly.

No IT Security without Free Software

How openness contributes to security - Online / ETH (RED)

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IT security is one of the most important global issues of recent years. However, apart from the establishment of "cybersecurity" authorities, politicians are...

Trojans are shutting down hospitals, security concerns regarding Huawei are causing the 5G expansion to slow down worldwide, and all of this during a phase in which societies are forced to speed up digitisation. There is a lot at odds with IT security, which is also demonstrated by the inflationary rise of "cybersecurity" authorities and centres. But it is only recently that the importance of Free Software (also called Open Source) for security has become known outside the narrowest IT scene.

Free Software is an important component of IT security. However, experience has shown that the license alone does not correct critical programming errors and design weaknesses. Max Mehl will therefore show in this lecture how and in what form Free Software can provide a plus in security and why it is so important to make decision-takers understand this as quickly as possible.

But where there is light, there is also shadow. The presentation will therefore also deal with potential disadvantages and cases of weighing up the pros and cons as well as typical counter-arguments.

Saturday 16:00

Closing Hackweek


Show what you have hacked over the last week and see what others have done.

Building a Robot Judge

Data Science for the Law - Online / ETH (BLUE)

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With expanding digitization of legal data alongside rapid developments in machine learning, the prospect arises for automating decisions in the legal domain....

Debunking strategies regarding fake news on the Internet

Findings from communication science - Online / ETH (RED)

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In the talk, it is planned to identify strategies from psychological and communication science research on how to effectively refute fake news distributed on...

The development of evidence-based recommendations on how fake news and myths can be appropriately exposed (debunking) in online communication and how belief in them can be minimised is important not only for each individual but for society as a whole. The change in media leads to a new configuration of communication and information processes through digitalisation, differentiation, increased complexity, and omnipresence. The players in digital communication are becoming more heterogeneous and we also find public communication on the Internet that is guided by one-sided interests. In terms of communicative practices, it then becomes apparent that there is more room for information of all kinds. This is one of the reasons why myths and fake news persist even in the information age of the Internet, although evidence-based, scientific information and research articles as well as qualitative journalistic debunking contributions are potentially easily accessible here. In everyday life, however, people have little time, cognitive resources, and/or motivation to understand complex topics such as scientific or medical findings. This is why erroneous knowledge often arises. These fake new...

Saturday 17:00

All aboard the hype train!

Ranil Wijeyratne, Dipl. Ingenieur FH, Senior Software Engineer, Ergon - Online / ETH (BLUE)

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Staying up to date is a big challenge in our industry. New and exciting technologies and paradigms often emerge. Each one is supposedly more disruptive and g...

The Meaning of Trust(worthiness) for Innovation

Online / ETH (RED)

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As part of the proposed contribution to VIScon, “ethix – Lab for Innovation Ethics” will present a theory of trust in the context of innovation that is an ex...

Innovation has a constant presence in all spheres of life. Current foci of innovation (e.g., AI, digitization, biotech, etc.) come with promises of making our lives easier, creating more accessible services, and eliciting progress. These ideas become translated into countless and diverse concrete applications.
However, not all of these ideas are able to become true innovation that integrates into our social lives. Success and failure factors of innovative instruments are manifold. However, the aspect of trust of potential users plays an important role. The issue of trust is not only important for existing and potential paying customers, but even more so for innovations directed towards citizens, e.g. civic tech. But simply desiring trust is the wrong starting point: what it means to have someone – or something – be trustworthy is the central starting point. Here mistrust and trust go hand in hand and lead to “authentic” or “justified” trust that is longer lasting.
As part of the proposed contribution to VIScon, “ethix – Lab for Innovation Ethics” will present a theory of trust in the context of innovation that is an extension of fundamental interpersonal definitions. We will t...

Saturday 17:15

Towards a digital utopia

Exploring digital utopias for the greater good. - ETH (I)

In this workshop, participants are animated to engage in a macro-view of technology and political discourse. How do we steer techno-social progress away from dystopian futures towards a digital utopia?

When we talk about the digital future of society, the conversation often drifts off into bleak, dystopian scenarios: total surveillance, tech giants leeching on our personal data and ubiquitous control enabled by Artificial Intelligence.

But we refuse to believe that this is what the future has in store for us. As Erik Reece, Author of Utopia Drive, puts it: “…things will only get worse if we don’t engage in some serious utopian thinking.” And that is exactly what we (Francesca Giardina from Operation Libero and Nikki Böhler from would like to instil in and practice with the participants - serious utopian thinking about techno-social change. We believe that the participants at VIScon will be uniquely challenged by this task, as it means zooming out of the code and re-focussing on the potential impact of their skills and talents on society.

Saturday 18:00

The missing ML lecture before starting in the industry

Online / ETH (BLUE)

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You have attended the ETH machine learning lectures with Prof. Dr. Buhmann and Prof. Dr. Krause. Exciting stuff, right? Your goal is clear - you want to star...

Whereto with AI?

Exploring the frontier between AI and philosophy - Online / ETH (RED)

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This survey talk is aimed at a general audience. It explores some key questions raised by Milestone books of the past 50 years at the frontier between AI an...

This is a talk for a general audience that will teach no AI to computer science characters and no philosophy to humanities characters. However both types of characters as well as anyone else will definitely learn something about the side(s) of this coin they are not familiar with, get their brain spinning on critical societal questions around AI, and in passing maybe want to read some of the 30 books which this talk is based on.