In virtual international hackathon, teams to tackle coronavirus challenges

Some 500 software developers from around the world are expected to work online together for 24 hours to seek ways to meet the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Hackathon Day, to be held on May 29-31, has been organized by Julien van Dorland from the Netherlands and Nir Kouris from Israel.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry is backing the initiative with the support of partners, startups, and firms from Israel, UK, The Netherlands, Poland, Italy, and other countries. Participants will use artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, robots and drones to try and solve a variety of challenges in a variety of fields, including health and fitness, work and economy, education, music and entertainment, travel and mobility, sustaining the elderly and protecting the environment. Microsoft is one of the sponsors of the event.

Teams will be asked to find ways to help reduce the spread of the virus, boost remote work or help small businesses with the economic challenges they are facing as a side effect of the pandemic. Creating better educational online tools will also be one of the challenges, along with finding ways for artists and musicians to find alternative ways to perform, as concerts are cancelled because of infection concerns. Finding ways to help travelers reach their destinations safely and finding ideas to help the elderly overcome isolation requirements will also be part of the challenges.

Judges will include Israeli ambassadors of the participating countries; Amit Svarzenberg, the Israel partnership manager at Microsoft for Startups; Jonathan Kingsley; Joanna Landau, the founder and CEO of Vibe Israel; and Karin Mayer Rubinstein, the CEO and president of Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI).

“We are currently facing a shift to a new world where we have to distance ourselves from other people,” the organizers said on the World Hackathon Day website. “This new world needs new technologies for 2020 and the future.”

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Written by Aakash Malu


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