What is a hackathon?

CityPress - - News -

A hackathon is an event, typ­i­cally last­ing two or more days, where com­puter pro­gram­mers come to­gether and use tech­nol­ogy to col­lab­o­rate on a game-chang­ing project.

This phe­nom­e­non, as seen in the Face­book movie The So­cial Net­work, has taken the world by storm over the past few years, show­ing what team­work and cre­ative think­ing can achieve in a con­cen­trated time frame.

Cre­ative and tech­ni­cal whizzes come to­gether to brain­storm and de­velop some­thing spe­cial dur­ing an in­ten­sive cod­ing ses­sion, filled with trial and er­ror and of­ten fu­elled by caf­feine and en­dor­phins. The fi­nal re­sult of the hackathon can be an in­no­va­tive web­site, an app or even a ro­bot.

Ap­par­ently, the Face­book “like” but­ton and chat func­tion were both de­vel­oped at in­ter­nal com­pany hackathons.

Peo­ple who have taken part in hackathons of­ten de­scribe the in­vig­o­rat­ing feeling of cre­at­ing a vi­able and work­able pro­to­type from scratch – lack of sleep not­with­stand­ing.

Tech­nol­ogy is all well and good, says Musa Kalenga, one of the judges of the up­com­ing Hack­4Health hackathon, but needs a clear and well-ar­tic­u­lated pur­pose to be use­ful. This is where a hackathon comes in, bring­ing to­gether tech­ni­cal and in­tel­lec­tual ca­pac­ity to col­lab­o­rate for a spe­cific pur­pose.

“This in­tense, fo­cused ap­proach is nec­es­sary be­cause the process of ‘hack­ing’ was de­signed to fo­cus resources and en­ergy in­ten­sively over a short pe­riod of time, with the aim of solv­ing a crit­i­cal prob­lem. Over time, this has be­come se­verely wa­tered down and hacks aren’t pro­duc­ing real or sus­tain­able so­lu­tions,” he ex­plains.

“I be­lieve that the more we al­low young peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in ‘hack­ing’ some of our most com­plex chal­lenges, the more we will be forced to come up with new, more cre­ative so­lu­tions. It’s ex­cit­ing to have the sup­port of Africa Teen Geeks to make this project a re­al­ity.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.