World’s largest ever Hackathon starts today to develop COVID-19 solutions

Estonia’s The Great Hack has been set up to share and develop technological solutions to the current COVID-19 crisis and to build resilience post-the Pandemic, over 100,000 skilled coders, say organisers

Posted 9 April 2020 by Gary Flood

With over thee billion people in lockdown due to COVID-19, what’s claiemd to be the world’s largest-ever Hackathon, The Global Hack, starts this morning.

Runing until Sunday (the 12th April), The Hack’s been set up to share and develop technological solutions to the current COVID-19 crisis and to build resilience post-the Pandemic, over 100,000 skilled coders, designers and innovators from all over the world are now going to come together online, offering their insights and brainstorming ideas to develop solutions.

Any promising ideas that emerge have the potential to gain funding through investors and mentors, with a confirmed prize pool of at least €75,000 as of 6th April, facilitated by The European Commission, with overall prize funds of over €120,000. Mentors in virtual attendance include former world chess champion Garry Kasparov and former Estonian President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

The Global Hack is a culmination of 40 similar hackathons already held or scheduled, and answers a call to action from Estonian President, Kersti Kaljulaid, who has previously issued a strong rallying call to the international community to find solutions via hackathon.

The organisers say that The Global Hack will play its part in fuelling creativity and entrepreneurial spirit into wide-ranging solutions that can face these existential challenges head-on.

There are various tracks for those taking part that highlight the most pressing challenges believed to face the global community, for example areas for environment, crisis response, work and the economy.

“I believe a worldwide Hackathon will bring a plethora of useful, life-saving solutions,” affirms Ilves, while for Marko Russiver, one of the Hack’s organisers, “Innovation is a collective experience and there are few ways better to achieve it than Hackathons. Now, with The Global Hack, we want to find those solutions that can be taken to every corner of the world.”

Organisers hope to replicate the success of other local Baltic anti-Pandemic online events, such as from Accelerate EstoniaGarage48 and Guaana, who collectively organised an online hackathon called Hack the crisis that has become a significant international success story.

More than 1300 people from over 20 countries and 15 timezones gathered to develop solutions to help Estonia emerge from the coronavirus crisis and create competitive advantages for the post-crisis period. One of the success stories from Hack the crisis, an automated chatbot called Suve, is now being used by the Estonian government to make sure that everyone living in or visiting Estonia gets their questions answered from official sources, in relation to coronavirus.

E-Residency, the Government of Estonia’s pioneering digital ID programme for global businesses, is leading a work track as a Great Hack partner. According to Ott Vatter, Managing Director of the e-Residency programme, the mission of the programme is to promote the digital transformation of governments and businesses:

“Over the last five years we have provided remote entrepreneurs with a full set of digital business services that they can access online from anywhere in the world. Now, they’re well prepared to continue doing so from home – so essentially what we offer is digital resilience.

“It may be a long time until the world is out of the COVID-19 woods, but we’re committed to support all remote entrepreneurs for the long road of challenges ahead. Therefore, we’re proud to be part of this incredible initiative to empower businesses not only to survive this crisis, but also thrive long after it is over. E-Residency’s offer for digital resilience will always be there for any business.”

Go here to join in or follow what seems to be a great idea.