Hackers with a Social Conscience Return to GTRI in December

Published: November 15, 2011

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Georgia Tech will again play host to the Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) community for the second time in 2011, in a two-day, open source hackathon.

Subject matter experts and technologists are invited to participate in the event, collaborate with peers around the globe to create open source technology solutions that will aid in a variety of global challenges. Participants will work to assist in a variety of thematic areas, from disaster risk management and climate change challenges. The event takes place from Friday to Sunday, Dec. 2 and 4, in the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) headquarters, at 75 5th St., Suite 202, in Atlanta.

Registration for the event is free. Those wanting to attend can register via the Atlanta page on the RHoK Website. 

Georgia Tech in Atlanta is just one of 33 global sites for the event. Other cities include New York, San Francisco, Montreal, Santiago, Banjul, Gambia; Tel Aviv, Warsaw, Oxford, England; and Saarbrücken, Germany. From Africa to South America and Europe to North America, nearly every continent is represented.

The fourth such hackathon, RHoK has broadened its scope from its initial events, which focused primarily on disaster risk management. New challenges exist in categories such as agriculture, education, energy, the environment, food security, gender equality, health, transportation, water quality and youth assistance.

Georgia Tech has participated as an event site for both the second and third RHoK events. According to Atlanta organizer Robert Delano, a Research Scientist with the Georgia Tech Research Institute, six teams participated in the most recent event, held June 3-4, 2011, in the Centergy Building.

Delano said the most popular challenge solution was the application “Message Carrier: Messages Without Connectivity.” Those participating in this group completed and demonstrated the application within the 24-hour window.

“The solution creates a blue-tooth, peer-to-peer network for passing messages from phone to phone when cell coverage is interrupted,” Delano said. “Once one of the phones on the network arrives in an area with coverage, the stored messages, tweets, emails and SMS messages are all released.”

Since its founding in 2009 with partners Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, NASA and the World Bank, RHoK has brought together thousands of experts in development and software design who have collaborated on a number of significant projects. Most applications serve to assist with disaster response or aid in getting information out of disaster-stricken areas. The group has held four public events.

Sponsors of the Atlanta event included the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), GTRI, BrightWhistle, Cloudspokes, Cool Blue Interactive, LFG Command Systems, Salestrakr, Software Singularity, Twilio and Urjanet.