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Computer ‘hacktivists’ to take part in international code for social good event

Friday, 6 December 2013 | By Rose Powell

More than 150 coders will gather in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane this weekend for an intense weekend of creating products that solve social issues and respond to natural disasters at Random Hacks of Kindness competitions.


Launched in 2009 by technology heavyweights Google, NASA, Yahoo! and Microsoft, in partnership with the World Bank, the event has become a worldwide phenomenon with over 30 countries taking part this year.


From an online portal to maps identifying water trading spots to cloud storage solutions for academic research, the mandate for the event is broad but focused on creating products that solve real-world issues.


Almost 6000 coders took part in the events last year.


Chairperson of the Melbourne event, Simone Esler, says watching powerful ideas emerge out of the chaotic environment of a hackathon is exciting.


“The beauty of Random Hacks of Kindness is that we inevitably see something positive and powerful arise out of just an idea over the course of a weekend,” Esler says.


Coders will form teams around ideas on Friday night, and demonstrate their app or software on the Sunday night. Esler adds the momentum for this event lasts beyond the weekend.


“There are many local and global hackathons out there but unfortunately the momentum they inspire over a hackathon weekend is soon lost when the weekend is over,” Esler says.


“We have one of the most vibrant RHoK communities in the world here in Melbourne and we work hard to keep the momentum going throughout the year by sustaining some projects between events.”