Gov’t launches virtual hackathon to fight COVID-19

Governmental technology agency GovTech Polska has launched a virtual edition of the largest stationary hackathon in Europe, HackYeah Online, with the aim of combating the effects of the coronavirus epidemic.

The competition is organised for the public benefit and its prize pool is PLN 100,000 (EUR 21,920) net, with participants working on solutions in five categories, GovTech Polska announced on Tuesday.

"The idea of organising hackathons aimed at dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic in Poland was initiated by DO OK ... a company that organised Hack the Crisis: Tech for Good hackathon in cooperation with the GovTech Polska Team – a task force in the PM's Office," GovTech Polska stated.

The Hack the Crisis event was attended by almost 2,000 programmers.

The purpose of HackYeah Online is to "combat the aftermath of the ongoing epidemic using technological solutions as well as implementing innovative projects," GovTech stated.

The participants are to develop their solutions over three days, on April 3-5. Projects sought after by the organisers are such that would tackle five key challenges, including security during an epidemic; business, science and technology in the time of the crisis; e-commerce and logistics; education and leisure; and freestyle. The latter is an open category, provided that the solution can be applied to fighting the effects of the coronavirus.

"I am inviting all developers, experts and technology enthusiasts to fight the virus in cyberspace," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was quoted as saying in the GovTech's news release.

GovTech Polska has already organised three hackathon editions, but the upcoming one is the first to be carried out online.

"The first hackathon proved that developers from all across Europe can have a hand in fighting the virus, and the next few days will prove that they are also able to extend that helping hand to those most affected by the epidemic," Justyna Orlowska, the Prime Minister's high representative for government technology, was cited as saying in the statement.

HackYeah Online is organised by IT event organiser Proidea, with GovTech as the main partner. Other partners include the Czech government and the CzechInvest agency.

Registration is now open to individuals and teams of up to six people at the HackYeah 2020 Online website.

GovTech Polska is a task force operating in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister aimed at engaging the community in introducing innovation to the public sector. It works with technology companies and citizens to jointly modernise public administration and find ways of using technology to accomplish tasks undertaken by the government.