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Planning and info for BONSAI 2019 hackathon
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Invitation for

BONSAI 2019 Hackathon

This repo is for the planning and execution of the BONSAI Hackathon in Barcelona from March 25-29, 2019. The hackathon will be a first step in turning the ideals and standards developed by the efforts of the BONSAI team over the last five years into an open source toolchain capable of supporting LCA calculations.

Your contribution

This repository, as well as the broader BONSAI effort, is happy to have your contribution! You are welcome to add your thoughts to existing documents, or create new ones. If you are already a hackathon participant, you can make changes directly to the master branch; otherwise, please fork the repo and create a pull request.

View the getting started page of the wiki for more guidance on contributions and expectations. We are also using a mailing list for organization and team communication - you are welcome to join, or browse without subscribing.


Sustainability assessment, and life cycle assessment (LCA) in particular, is to a large extent built on cathedrals - large background databases, erected by the efforts of many people over a long period of time, but which are now both expensive and exclusive, and whose gatekeepers limit access to both the data and decisions on its management. BONSAI believes in another model, a bazaar where the entire community can contribute to data generation, validation, and management decisions. We strongly feel that an open database is more transparent and more reproducible, and therefore the only option for the science of life cycle assessment. Such databases are also a prerequisite for LCA studies being used to support democratic decision making.

Working Groups

Important! All active working groups, please register yourselves on the working groups status page. Every deliverable project should be listed there with its project lead, inputs and outputs.

See also the working group dependency chart and hackathon deliverables project board. Note that you can add issues from your local repository as cards on the project board.


Sub-group:RDF framework

  • Provide clear definition of the BONSAI ontology
  • Use the ontology to develop an RDF schema
  • Clear guidelines of schema structure and selected RDF framework

Deliverable: Discussion on value judgments will be reported on the github repo by the end of the hackathon, draft schema

Stretch goal: Develop queries or programs for typical queries to extract neccessary information from an RDF file

Group members: Agneta, Elias, Bo, Matteo, Massimo, Stephano, Soren, Tomas


Create a model that queries the ENTSO-E API to create dynamic electricity market mixes.

Deliverable: Complete working model by the end of the hackathon, draft library before start of hackathon.

Stretch goal: Can be packaged in Docker and run as a web service.

Group members: Arthur, Brandon, Carlos, Chris, Elias


The goal of this working group is to provide standards and best practices for making transparent and reproducible models, both for use in BONSAI and for the LCA/IE community in general.

According to the dependency chart, reproducible models:

  • must generate "technical standards" for the bentso model and the SimaPro IO model
  • should generate "transparency guidelines" for those, plus also the correspondence tables.

Before the Hackathon: draft transparency guidelines for hackathon data products

Deliverable: Operable standards and checklist that demonstrate reproducibility of data products

Stretch goals:

  • Operable standards that demonstrate "interoperable life cycle inventory models"
  • Independent replication of one or more results

Group members: Brandon, Carlos, Massimo, Miguel

Coding standards

The goal of this group is to make it easy to produce high quality code through library templates and practice guides.


  • Python library skeleton (before hackathon)
  • Input tutorial on best practices (during hackathon)

Group members: Brandon, Tomas

Correspondence tables

This group aims at collecting and classifing existing correspondence tables and converting them in RDF format for entry into the database. This is the link to the repository of the group and this the link to the discussion list dedicated to this topic.


  • Provide recommendations on dealing with 1-N, N-1, M-N situations
  • Convert the collected correspondence tables in RDF format for entry into the database.

Group members: Michele, Mighuel, Brandon, Chris, Stefano, (...)


In addition to the following, we intend to submit 1-2 scientific publications on the hackathon results after its conclusion.

Deliverable 1: A comprehensive ontology for industrial ecology and associated relevant data

This is based on the description at - to be formalised as a proper ontology pattern and an RDF schema.

To cover all aspects of Industrial Ecology, we would have to add "agents" of activities, as in the "minimal ontology pattern", "assets" of these agents, and "behavioral rules" governing the interaction with their activities. This may be beyond the current hackathon.

Deliverable 2: An RDF database and associated tooling incorporating several large LCA data sources

Deliverable 3: Data exchange standards for interoperable life cycle inventory models

Deliverable 4: A working model that follows the standards in deliverable 3

This is being developed in the bentso repository.

Stretch goal 1: An API specification and running implementation for the produced database

Stretch goal 2: A set of global and regional independent validation data, and webpage tracking our values with these validation targets

Stretch goal 3: A simple web-based tool to easily match CSV/Excel tables to the developed ontology using a ML text classifier

Stretch goal 4: A simple web-based tool to compare directly competing statements present in the database

For example, if we have incorporate muliple EEMRIO databases at some point - or if we import new data that is more recent/disaggregated/otherwise different than existing data.

Paper 1: Hackathon report to IJLCA

Similar to reports from the LCA discussion forum. Not peer reviewed. All participants as authors.

Paper 2: From the ground up: A new approach to building LCA databases

Must be open access. Authorship to be determined by contribution to paper writing. All participants acknowledged.

Paper 3: The world isn't flat: Making computational inventory models usable

Must be open access. Authorship to be determined by contribution to paper writing. All participants acknowledged.

Paper 4: The BONSAI ontology for industrial ecology

Must be open access. Authorship to be determined by contribution to paper writing.

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