Coding for a Cause: Participants Invited to Provide 'Random Hacks of Kindness"

GTRI Conference Center selected as a site for global coding competition

From Dec. 4 to Dec. 5, the GTRI Conference Center will be one of 13 global locations for the third Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK), a global community-of-innovation competition.

Random Hacks of Kindness
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The GTRI Conference Center will be one of 13 locations for Random Hacks of Kindness, a global coding competition to aid disaster relief.

During the two-day marathon hacking session, the best and brightest hackers form a volunteer global network create software solutions to critical challenges relating to natural disaster risk and response. 

The event is free and open to the public. Students, faculty members, developers, software engineers and creative experts, as well as technical and nonprofit leaders, are invited to participate. Registration is available on the RHoK website. From 9 a.m. on Saturday to 6 p.m. on Sunday, participants will work their techno-magic at GTRI in concert with others around the world.

RHoK sessions work with collaborators at Crisis Commons to identify immediate problems, which are then refined further through various small groups. These groups work simultaneously across the globe in a “codejam”—a fast-paced competition where each group has a set amount of time to solve the challenges they are given. At the end of the two-day event, a panel reviews each hack, with winners walking away with prizes.

Some hacks created during previous RHoK marathons include “AlertMe,” an app that allows emergency messages related to disasters to appear on mobile phones or browsers similar to the Emergency Broadcast System graphics for U.S. television; “Chasm,” an application that allows engineers in the field to enter data into a landslide risk algorithm, and “CrysisWiki,” an editable directory of resources that provides updated information on disasters and crises around the world.

RHoK #2 has five main stages and eight satellite locations, from Brazil and Toronto to Kenya and Indonesia. GTRI in Atlanta will join Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Seattle as the only sites in the United States.

“This is a unique opportunity to connect the critical needs of nonprofits who help in times of great need with application developers, systems engineers and other technical and creative experts who wouldn’t typically work on these problems,” said Betsy Plattenburg, GTRI’s Director of Corporate Relations. Local partners include the Southeastern Software Association, Hub Atlanta and TechBridge, among others.

Representatives from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and The World Bank started RHoK in November 2009 at RHoK #0 in Mountain View, Calif. In June 2010, RHoK #1 took place on the “main stage” in Washington, D.C., with six other satellite sites around the world.