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Rare Diseases: Hackathons

March 14, 2014

What is a hackathon and what does it have to do with rare diseases ?

According to PC Magazine’s Encyclopedia, a hackathon is:

“a periodic event where programmers get together at some venue to collaboratively create a new application or software system within a few hours or a few days.”   

A hackathon is a gathering of computer programmers, digital software designers, and other information technicians who work over a short period of time to collaboratively improve or create code or software applications. A hackathon is also known as a hack day, hackfest, or codefest. Hackathons implies a computer coding marathon marked by the endurance of the participants to obtain a particular goal or objective in an intense, short period of time.

Sweb Development, a Texas-based company that develops and builds mobile apps, websites, and social media marketing campaigns, creates an infographic as to who goes to hackathons. Some interesting statistics from the infographic:

•   70% are “veterans” who went to a hackathon “before they were cool”

•   89% are male

•   82% are ages 18 – 34

•   Top 3 reasons why people go to hackathons: learning, meet people, and change the world.

Recently, hackathons are combined with rare diseases for the purpose of creating software or applications for improving the diagnosis of rare diseases. This weekend, March 14 – 16, a hackfest is to take place at the MIT Media Lab (Cambridge, Massachusetts) : “Healthcare’s Grand H@ckfest” sponsored by MIT H@acking Medicine and the Kauffman Foundation. Siren Interactive, the Global Genes Project, and the author and geneticist, Dr. Sharon Moalem, are partnering to create a rare disease track at the H@ckfest. The topic of the rare disease track is to decrease the amount of time it takes to diagnose a person with a rare genetic disease using a new software app, Recognyz. Recognyz is a tool to aid healthcare professionals identify facial features that are associated with a particular rare disease, which may decrease diagnosis time. Global Genes will “provide the resulting Recognyz software application to healthcare professionals.”

Please Note: “LuMaxArt Computer Workgroup Concept” courtesy of The “Gold Guys Blog” [CC BY-SA 2.0] | Wikimedia Commons.

Copyright © 2012-2014, Orphan Druganaut Blog. All rights reserved.

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