What is a Hackathon?

A hackathon is an event, usually hosted by a tech company or organization, where programmers get together for a short period of time to collaborate on a project. The participants work rapidly and often work all night to achieve their task, as the events generally take place over a weekend.

What are the expectations of team members?

  • Prepare for the hackathon by attending training sessions and ensuring technical readiness.
  • Prepare and deliver a presentation about your work. Start preparing after the Hackathon is complete so you can focus on your project during the two days of the Hackathon. Presentations will be recorded.
  • Network with other hackathon participants.
  • Collaborate with team members to achieve common goals.
  • Have fun and learn new skills!

What are the expectations of team leaders?

Your main job is to identify key project skill requisites, acquire the datasets and background resources for your team to hit the ground running.

  • Propose a project proposal or select to take the lead on a proposal.
  • Select and submit a dataset that fits the scope of the hackathon.
  • Prepare for the hackathon by ensuring any necessary software is installed, attending training sessions, ensuring technical readiness, and working with organizers to bring in necessary public data sets or software tools into U-BRITE beforehand.
  • Divide up roles for the team: data cleaning, programming, informatics approach design, data analysis, technical writing, scientific hypothesis, etc.
  • Coordinate tasks and different roles to be performed by different team members.
  • Help team members achieve their specific tasks when or if they have troubles.

What are the expectations of team mentors?

  • Provide scientific guidance on the overall project design, data to be used, and choices of analytical tools necessary to complete the project on time.
  • Facilitate constructive and critical discussions among the teams to improve the overall rigor and reproducibility of the approach.
  • Help the team prepare a final presentation for the competition.
  • Provide guidance to team leaders when they need help achieving goals and managing the team.

What is a “great” project proposal?

A great hackathon project is high-risk and requires interdisciplinary expertise. Each team member is a teacher and student, contributing their knowledge to the collective and learning in the process. Over 2 days, a team of ~8 people can successfully implement a proof of concept or prototype software. Follow-up work will refine that seed into a production quality resource.

Ensure your project fits within the scope of the hackathon, and if you need help, let the organizing committee know and you will be assigned a mentor to help.

Some requirements of project proposals are below:

  • Datasets should be publicly available and easy to access.
  • Proposals should be geared towards downstream analyses multi-omic data including tool development, pipeline development, hypothesis generation, or novel analyses.
  • Proposals should allow for input from team members during the hackathon and do not need to be fully formed ideas prior to the hackathon although they should have some objectives.

How do I join a team?

Registrants will be notified on July 25th of acceptance as a participant. Participants will also be sent a team preference form on July 25th that will be due on July 29th. Participants may select up to 3 teams they’d like to be on. Team leaders will be consulted as well on preferred skillsets and team members. Ultimately, teams will consist of roughly 8 people (up to 12). The organizing committee will sort participants based on their preferences, and participants will be notified of teams on August 1st

Will there be prizes?

This year, we are aiming for a fun event centered on a passion for science! However, there will be perks (such as the potential for publishing your work) for participants and team leaders so please register by July 21st.

Am I capable of leading a team?

Yes! All expertise and education levels are encouraged to submit a proposal or lead a team. Biohackathons are not meant to be “tests”. They are meant to lower the barriers that many scientists face due to fear or imposter syndrome. If you are already a team member, then you are capable of leading a team.

Will my work be published?

Potentially! Teams will be offered help to write abstracts and prepare publications during and after the hackathon. Teams may publish in any journal including JOSS, F1000Research, BioHackrXiv, etc. In the past, multiple teams have published in Frontiers.