Emory team wins award at AWS re:invent virtual conference

A team representing Emory Cloud Services participated in an AWS-led computing competition and came away with honors in an event designed to test applicable knowledge in the field of cloud computing. The competition, called AWS GameDay, challenged teams to spend 4 hours solving extremely difficult cloud-related tasks for a mythical company called Unicorn Rentals.

Emory’s team consisted of Ramya Bommareddy, Zach Cox, Sergey Kamenetskiy, and Rohith Mandala. The team was called ET2 (Emory Technical Team) and won the “Lords and Ladies of the Questivus” award for solving the most challenges. They finished second in the overall competition.

Regarding the format, AWS instructed, “We are 100% hands-on, and you will be working extensively in the AWS Console. It is not a workshop; there are no step-by-step instructions. Be prepared to decide your own path forward with ambiguous directions. You may get frustrated and that is alright! Support staff will be available to assist you. Please come with an open mind to try new things. Our event is team-based, so you should arrive well-rested to communicate effectively, divide and conquer, and support your teammates.”

The team got off to a strong start when the first challenge involved New Relic (cloud-based software for tracking website performance) for which Rohith already had significant expertise. Each challenge required various levels of competency to complete, however in some cases they needed to learn new services on the fly. “The challenges opened my mind to new ways to architect solutions in AWS,” said Zach. “I found it fun and beneficial.”

This gamified challenge was offered by AWS for free as a lead in to this month’s AWS re:invent virtual conference. AWS plans to do a series of competitions that employ varying levels of complexity. “They offer different types of gameday experiences,” said Ramya. “It was fun (and a little stressful) but their facilitators would drop in to help us now and then.”

Paul Petersen and his ECS team are hoping to work with AWS to host a competition at Emory next year. For more information about the AWS GameDay offerings, go to https://aws.amazon.com/gameday/.


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