Calling all Hackers!

Calling all Hackers!

Babraham Institute Bioinformatics Department has long since led the way when it comes to knowledge exchange; sharing best practice, tools, and codes in open source platforms. This year they are pioneering a new initiative.  In this KEC blog, Steve Wingett tells us about the Cambridge Bioinformatics Hackathon. 

For several years the Babraham Bioinformatics department has organized a bi-annual event in which participants set themselves a Life-Sciences related computational project and then spent two days in a room together working on projects collaboratively, drawing on the expertise available.  These events, known as hackathons, proved a great opportunity for researchers to try out new ideas, develop software and focus on a project that they would otherwise not have time to work on during a typical working day.  Also, we found at the end of the event we had produced a range of tools that helped us with our subsequent work.  The events were fun and interactive too.
 
Following from the success of these events we wanted to extend the Hackathon to become a Cambridge-wide initiative in which bioinformaticians and computational biologists from across the city could participate.  We contacted the University computer training facility in Cambridge, to host the event and then started advertising the 3-day event.  The Cambridge Bioinformatics hackathon will take place on 25-27 Sept and is open to all; students, PIs, postdocs from academic institutions and companies - people can sign up to work on their own or in a team.  During the event we will encourage experts in all areas to make themselves known, to provide advice to less-experienced researchers at the event.
 
At the end of the hackathon we shall invite participants to display their work to everyone.  This will enable the presenters to receive feedback on their work and allow others who are interested to volunteer themselves to contribute to other projects.  With this in mind we hope to produce an event web-page listing all the projects that were produced on the day, and make them available to the public.  Furthermore, we will be encouraging researchers to deposit there code on GitHub (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3jLJU7DT5E) to facilitate the dissemination of the code, and possibly open it up as a collaborative project for researchers around the world.
 
We hope the Cambridge Bioinformatics Hackathon will provide a forum for the generation of innovative science and exchange of ideas.  Our aim is to enable researchers to approach their research from a fresh perspective and give them the time to try out that “fun pet project they have always wanted to give a go”.  There will be the opportunity to discuss ideas and create new collaborations that may last long after the hackathon has ended.  You can follow our progress on Twitter #CamHack2017. Watch this space (and future blogs) to find out what was created.
 
Places are limited so visit this page to book your place now!