AT&T Rochester Civic App Challenge—Kick-off Hackathon

What is a Hackathon?

Coding is to a hackathon as running is to a marathon. A hackathon is a focused social coding event, lasting anywhere between hours and many days.

Attendees may participate in person or remotely via the Internet. The purpose is to work on a common goal to create something new, such as an app to promote local engagement. The format of this hackathon is competitive, pitting each participant, or teams of participants against one another, to compete for prizes.

What is civic hacking?

“Civic hackers” are technologists, civil servants, designers, entrepreneurs, engineers—anybody—who are willing to collaborate with others to create, build and invent to address challenges relevant to our neighborhoods, our cities, our states and our country.

What you will see:

As participants prepare to stay awake for 24 hours, programmers, artists, project managers and entrepreneurs begin to “speed date.” They match themselves with other hackers who have the desired skill sets and begin to pitch ideas for the project.

Participants typically bring their own laptops and other devices to begin developing and creating their apps. Mentors and dataset sponsors are available for questions and to offer advice for working with any new technologies.

Coffee and soda are plentiful, as hackers work into the early hours of the morning. Many people are so “in the zone” that they skip meals, although free food is provided. At 6 p.m. Saturday, hackers will have a chance to demo their progress in front of their peers and judges in hopes of winning a prize.

Who: Anyone can come to watch, up to 100 hackers can participate

When: 24-hour event, from 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, through 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22

Where: The MAGIC Center, Student Innovation Hall, room 1600

For more information: Contact Scott Bureau, University News Services, at or 585-475-2481.