'Hackathon for good' attracts tech-talent to The Hague

National and international tech-talents get started on solving world problems

November 6, 2018 – During the weekend of November 17th and 18th, The Hague will be dominated by the #Hackathonforgood. Experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence and big data will be presented with challenges that support the efforts of the Red Cross, ICC, NCIA (NATO), Asser Institute and World Vision. With the help of smart data solutions, these organisations hope to make a worldwide difference in the fight against disasters, fake news and international injustice. Around 120 tech-talents (national and international) have signed up for the hackathon.

Saskia Bruines, alderman Education, Knowledge Economy, International: "The profile of the international city of peace and justice makes The Hague the logical place for this 'Hackathon for Good'. As an 'Impact City' we want to actively cooperate with companies, universities, colleges, technology experts and NGOs in finding solutions to world problems. I am happy there is such an overwhelming number of specialists from all over the world who want to join along with us."

The hackathon is also the first visible project of the Data Science Initiative, an initiative of tech entrepreneurs, universities, government and knowledge institutions in The Hague that are committed to peace, justice and security through big data and Artificial Intelligence: Tech for good.

National and international teams

There is much enthusiasm for the hackathon. From over 200 entries, 120 participants were selected to take part in the event. The experts, from all over the world, will participate in teams. This includes teams from England, Uganda and India. To ensure that everyone remains focused, yoga classes and walks are organized and energy managers, a vitality coach and masseurs are present.

Challenges for peace and justice

The teams will tackle six challenges set out by international NGOs:

Red Cross Challenge 1: After a disaster such as an hurricane or typhoon, the Red Cross manually determines (based of satellite images and aerial photographs) what damage to buildings has been done and which emergency aid is most needed and where. The programmers are challenged to develop a new/improved algorithm that automatically analyses a disaster area so that the Red Cross can assess the situation as quickly as possible.

Red Cross Challenge 2: In the fight against disasters, the Red Cross combines data from digital maps and geographical systems to assess the affected area. The problem is that often the data is not comparable or cannot be combined. The participants will be challenged to combine the data from these systems as accurately as possible using a smart solution.

NCIA Challenge: The NATO Communications and Information Agency works with a number of organizations to identify fake news, propaganda and inflammatory information on social media, traditional media and other public sources. The hackers are challenged to analyse images as quickly as possible, for example using image recognition and A.I.

ICC Challenge: As a part of collecting and analysing evidence, the International Criminal Court must examine information across many different formats in order to establish a relationship between individuals and locations. This is done by lawyers and can be very time-consuming. The International Criminal Court wants to automate this process.

World Vision Challenge: In order to improve disaster response, World Vision is looking for a comprehensive model that is able to predict disasters and determine the impact of making emergency funds available on time.

Asser Institute Challenge: In developing countries, land grabbing is a problem that has a major impact on already poor populations, often leading to loss of livelihoods and income. The Asser Institute challenges experts to build a tool that identifies common patterns and characteristics of land grabbing. As a result, risks in comparable areas or countries can be better assessed, and land grabbing avoided.

Renowned jury to determine three winners

On Sunday, November 18th, the jury will announce the three winners. The jury of the 'Hackathon for good' consists of Prof. Dr. Mirjam van Reisen, Irakli Beridze, Prof. Dr. Valerie Frissen, Taco Ekkel and Devin Krotman. The winners will receive a cash prize of € 2,500, € 5,000 or € 10,000 respectively.

Irene Rompa