Taiwan to join NASA hackathon for first time

Taipei--Taiwan will participate this year for the first time in the NASA International Space Apps Challenge, one of the largest hackathons in the world, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said Thursday.

The programming marathon style hackathon will utilize NASA's open data, inviting participants in 110 cities around the world to provide hardware, software and innovative solutions to global challenges such as water resource management and natural disaster response, the AIT said.

"With unique vantage points in air and in space, NASA collects high-quality data covering all parts of the planet, which tells us more about the world we live in," the AIT said in a news release.

The theme for the 2017 hackathon is the Earth, according to the AIT, which represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of bilateral diplomatic relations.

"It is especially meaningful to hold this event in April, when we celebrate Earth Day," AIT's public diplomacy section chief Joseph Bookbinder was quoted as saying in the news release.

Registration is now open for the Taiwan part of the hackathon, which will be held April 29-30 at National Taiwan University, the AIT said.

Participants must register before April 17 in teams of three to five members, according to the official website of the International Space Apps Challenge.

The prizes for the three top teams in Taiwan will be NT$80,000 (US$2,619), NT$60,000 and NT$40,000, respectively, the website said.

The Taiwan part of the challenge will be hosted jointly by the AIT, Taiwan's Ministry of Science and Technology, National Taiwan University and Taipei City's Department of Information Technology, the AIT said.

The international hackathon is held over the course of 48 hours in cities around the world, inviting the participation of students, scientists, designers, makers, technologists and anyone enthusiastic about addressing Earth's challenges, it said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel