Some of the IT industry's biggest names are lending their support to Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK), a weekend of hard coding where volunteer engineers seek to solve real-world problems.Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Nasa and The World Bank are founding partners in RHoK, which this year takes place on June 4-6. The 'hackathon' will kick off in Washington, DC, with global satellite events going on around the world in Jakarta, Sydney, Nairobi and Sao Paolo and there's a special two day workshop at the Microsoft Offices in Maryland.“We start with problem definitions created through consultations with NGOs, governments and experts in the field from around the world, then we invite hackers to a come together to organize and go to work putting their skills to use to solve those problems with software solutions that make a difference on the ground,” said Google in a blog posting.“At a RHoK hackathon, new technologies are born, existing platforms are built upon, and innovative new ideas attract attention and support. At the close of the hackathon, teams present the technologies they have developed and prizes are awarded.”The event started last year with a Crisis Camp held in Washington DC, where Google, Microsoft and Yahoo pledged their support and the organisers are hoping to draw in expertise from around the world, from both professional programmers and also from students looking to get more coding experience.“At a RHoK Hackathon, benevolently-inclined hackers will listen to a keynote speech presenting the challenges we are facing. Then they’ll churn out some of the most important open source code on the planet — code that saves lives and mitigates human suffering,” they said.
Issue: 341 | August 2015