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    16 Aug 2016

    Australian university students spend $500 to build a census website to rival their governments existing $10 million site

    Two first year university students have designed an alternative to the ABS Census website in just 54 hours.
    Austin Wilshire, 18, and Bernd Harzer, 24, created the site during the Queensland University of Technology's Code Network Winter hack-a-thon at the weekend.
    The pair took a little over two days to make the site, and it cost them less than $500 - far less than the $10 million the Australian government spent on their site. 
    The ABS' Census site crashed for over 24 hours on the night the servers were overloaded when millions of Australians logged on to fill out the survey - taken every five years. 
    Their project - titled 'Make Census Great Again' -  used 'serverless architecture' by hosting their site on Amazon servers - meaning it could not get overloaded. 
    'From the outset we designed the system to scale using cutting-edge serverless architecture,' Mr Wilshire told Daily Mail Australia.   
    'The technology is new, only two years old. It allowed us to run little snippets of code (called Lambda functions) on Amazon's servers. 
    'This means that their system operation staff (arguably some of the best in the world) are the ones taking care of scaling for us for us,' he said. 
    'Think of it like hiring a car, but only paying how far you've driven it and the company pays for fuel.
    'They took care of all the load services and traffic issues you might have,' the 18-year-old added.
    While the ABS Census site was load tested to handle 1 million page loads per hour, which cost the government half a million dollars, the alternative was trialled to cope with four million page loads an hour. 
    The website built at the hack-a-thon cost nothing to load test, and less than $500 overall to create.
    'We made something that was really simple because it didn't need to be complex,' Mr Harzer told Daily Mail Australia.
    'We were able to work without a lot of limitations, that the people who made the Census website would have had tons of,' the 24-year-old added.

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