Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia launches ‘Hope Hackathon’ challenge with $266,000 reward

Saudi Arabia launched on Wednesday the Hope Hackathon initiative aimed at using computing experts to innovate and solve challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

Governments and companies are increasingly employing hackers, skilled computer programmers best known for hacking security systems illegally, to improve their own systems. A hackathon is a design event in which hackers, developers, and technical experts collaborate to solve challenges or design new models for businesses or software.

The Kingdom’s “Hope Hackathon” will take place May 7-12 and host teams of up to four players. The tournament is divided into three streams, each aimed at solving problems and enhancing performance in the context of the coronavirus pandemic: Digital Health, Home Entertainment, and E-Games.

The Digital Health stream aims to highlight the intersection of technology and health, a sector whose importance has been highlighted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, while Home Entertainment and E-Games aim to provide services and games that improve the quality of life under quarantine.

The top five rated projects in each of the three streams will share a total pot of prize money of 1 million Saudi riyals ($266,049). The winner receives 100,000 Saudi riyals, second place 85,000, third 65,000, fourth 45,000, and fifth 35,000.

The hackathon is part of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s “Gamers Without Borders by Saudi” initiative.

Registration closes on May 5, with the final 150 participants for each track announced on May 6. The 15 winning teams will be announced on May 13.