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Sydney Uni to play host to Australia’s first 24-hour “hackathon”

Wednesday, 21 September 2011 | By Oliver Milman

Start-up app developers are being encouraged to take part in what’s believed to be Australia’s first 24-hour ‘hackathon’ this weekend, with $3,500 in cash up for grabs.

 

The Sydney Hackathon is a joint initiative between Sydney University and global publishing house Elsevier.

 

The event involves various teams competing to develop a desktop app within 24 hours, to be used on Elsevier’s Sciverse platform, a database of its scientific publications.

 

While relatively common in the US and Europe, hackathons are largely unheard of in Australia. It’s hoped that the Sydney event will spur similar activity in the tech sector, giving emerging developers the platform to grow their businesses.

 

James Alexander, president of Sydney University’s IT Society and co-organiser of the hackathon, says that the event shows the growing profile of Australia’s tech start-up scene.

 

“It’s important to encourage innovation and foster a collaborative environment for developers,” he tells StartupSmart.

 

“This is particularly the case for university students, who don’t get much real world experience through assignments. Once you get professional and student developers in the one room, there’s a sense of community and good ideas come out.”

 

“The fact that Elsevier came to us to offer sponsorship shows that they are keen to hold these events, but it’s also indicative of the community building among Sydney start-ups.”

 

“Hopefully this will be an annual event and other hackathons will be encouraged to start-up elsewhere. We’ve had huge interest from Google and Microsoft to get involved which is great, because this area isn’t promoted enough.”

 

The hackathon, which will be held on Sydney University’s campus, will offer a $1,500 prize to the winning app, with $1,000 for second place and $500 for third position. A “people’s choice” award will offer a further $500.

 

OrionVM, a leading tech start-up, will provide hosting for the event and may even enter a team. Currently, the hackathon has filled 35 of the 70 spaces for teams.

 

Teams are made up of a maximum of five people. For more information on the event, which takes place on September 24 and 25, click here.