FAQ

We’ll make more details about challenges available closer to the hackathon. For now, here are some answers to FAQs we’ve gotten from interested participants.


When?

The hackathon takes place from 5pm Friday 5th April - 5pm Sunday 7th April. For more specifics check the agenda page.

We ask that participants register on time, however we appreciate that travel may be difficult on Friday and can try to make accommodations if you contact us beforehand.


Where?

The hackathon will take place in the Stata Center (aka Building 32), home of MIT’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Our rooms are split between the 1st and 4th floors and the layout can be confusing, so check navigation page if you’re feeling lost


Do I have to have a specific background to attend?

No! We're looking to attract an interdisciplinary group of hackers—domain experts, policy students, data scientists, and more. One of our goals is to encourage the formation of interdisciplinary teams that can propose creative policy solutions using a combination robust data analytics and domain expertise.  We hope to foster a collaborative community and that requires people from all backgrounds.


How do I register?

Fill out the application form. Participation in the hackathon is not guaranteed through registration because we have limited space and need to ensure that we will have well-rounded teams across all of the domains. You will share which areas you are interested in applying for and will be asked about relevant experience.

Applications close on March 15th 11:59 EST. You should hear back about acceptance and wait-list decisions by March 19th, when we’ll ask you to confirm your attendance and challenge.


How do I find a team?

Most teams will be formed by individuals connecting organically during the first evening of the hackathon. You can also apply as a team if you know you want to work together, but you don’t have to have one!


Will you cover travel costs?

Unfortunately, due to funding constraints, we will not be able to make contributions towards travel expenses this year. Please only accept registration if you can cover your own travel costs.


Do you provide accommodation?

Unfortunately, due to funding constraints, we cannot provide accommodation. Please only accept registration if you can provide your own lodging.


What are the outcomes of the hackathon?

Teams will be charged with producing data-driven policy solutions to their challenge statements in the form of a 3-minute pitch and a 3 to 5 page policy paper. Initial judging will be based on the pitch, after which judges will hold a Q&A session with finalists based on their policy papers. The winners of the hackathon will receive cash prizes and may have the opportunity to continue to pursue their policy recommendations in tandem with their challenge sponsors.


What challenge topics are covered?

We are working to include challenges in (1) Energy & Climate (2) Transportation and Urban Planning (3) Health (4) Employment, Education, and Future of Work (5) Artificial Intelligence & Cybersecurity. We cannot guarantee all challenges will be available, but you will be given an opportunity to select a challenge area when you confirm your registration


What resources will be provided for each challenge?

Each challenge statement will be accompanied by a background memo containing data sets and resources that could be useful in crafting your policy solutions. There may also be representatives from the institutions sponsoring the challenge statements available to talk with teams during the hackathon. Teams will be given space to work and meals will be provided from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.