Success Stories – Alohomora Algorithm

This team has been entering GovHack since 2018, and the team name is based on a Harry Potter spell that unlocks doors, in this case unlocking potential.
Alohomora Algorithm Team Photo
Alohomora Algorithm Team Photo
The ‘Alohomora Algorithm’ team members at the infosys location in 2022

The Alohomora Algorithm team has been entering GovHack since 2018, and their team name is based on a Harry Potter spell that unlocks doors, in this case unlocking potential.

The challenge

The problem to fix came from VicGov which was to use data better but in particular the issue of incomplete or incorrect addresses. An example might be that a single address on a corner has two entries. Sometimes a street name is given but it’s in a different suburb. Accidents at remote locations are hard for emergency services to pinpoint. The road network is dynamic, over time with new buildings going up but also in real time where roadworks or accidents might change traffic flow.

The approach

The team broke the solution into three parts: compare, predict and synergise. Compare would look at multiple candidate addresses to find the most likely match, landmarks are then used to narrow down the most likely address, “predict” uses a prediction model to decide on the most likely real address.

What was built

Rather than building a working model, the team came up with multiple use-cases with solution approaches. 

The team used Canva which is a collaboration and design tool. It can create wireframes, customer journeys, info-graphics, videos and presentations and as Anikesh has a full license for his work they were able to use that. 

Team skills

Anikesh did mostly UX design, presentation and brainstorming. 

Swetalina and Saket are developers so they proposed the logic of the solutions and how they might be implemented. 

Rup is a University student doing his bachelors degree so GovHack was his first exposure to real time problem solving.  


The team created their own database to bring together unique address IDs. In particular the latitude and longitude were used as well as the Google “Plus Code” which is a short location identifier that can be used for locations without an address. They look like “JJXX+HR8, Seattle”.

The hackathon weekend

Friday night was where the team came together and looked at the just released problem statements. In the case of team Alohomora Algorithm they were all housemates but others might find their teams on the night. A challenge relating to linking up data relating to addresses was chosen and then they looked for another challenge that could be solved with the same solution. The team closed for the night by 10pm.

Saturday began by picking the main problem to solve. By midday the team had to register the problem they’re working on. At the end of the day, the team was able to register for additional challenges. By the end of Saturday the team had the “why” and a high level “how”. The team took advantage of mentors who were available to help. They gave guidance about the approach and suggested other things the team hadn’t thought of. 

On Sunday morning the team put everything together in diagrams and solution flows. Work on the video was started on Sunday morning but Anikesh is aware from experience that the video can be the hardest part of the work. Many teams start on the video on Saturday. It’s a good idea to split the team to have some working on the solution and others just working on the video.

“There was a lot of time pressure”.

Advice to first timers

“Think about the problem as much as you can” on Friday night.

Choose which problem you want to solve and why.

Mingle with people if you don’t have a team, but do network even if you do have a team.

“If you want to win GovHack – if you know the why, then 50% of the job is done”.

Lessons from participating in GovHack

Learning how to come up with a problem statement under time pressure.

Choosing an approach to solving a problem.

Anikesh finds that in his actual job finding the “why” is critical and GovHack is a great training ground.

“GovHack is all about fun” Some people come to it looking for a job and while that may happen don’t get hung up on that too much. 

“Network as much as you can – it’s not about your team, it’s about everyone”. “It’s a small world, you’re going to cross paths with these people in the future”.

Story by Peter Marks

Thank you Anikesh Sasmal for participating in our Success Stories feature!