by Derek Hardin
Air Force Research Laboratory
10/7/2014 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Air
Force Research Laboratory is preparing to co-host LabHack, a 26-hour
long coding competition which will task coding-savvy individuals, or
"hackers," to creatively solve challenges that AFRL researchers face
The Air Force's first 'Hackathon' event -- produced by AFRL, the Wright
Brothers Institute, and Code for Dayton, part of the Code for America
Brigade Program -- will take place Oct. 25-26, 2014, at the Tec^Edge
Innovation and Collaboration Center in Dayton, Ohio.
According to the LabHack website, the objective is to "learn something
new, build something awesome, and to have fun." However, with its ties
to AFRL, the goal of the event stretches beyond that. Participants will
be challenged to assist in solving real challenges related to sensor
data, creating solutions that could directly impact the warfighter.
Dr. Scott Galster, AFRL Chief of the Applied Neuroscience Branch of
AFRL's 711th Human Performance Wing, is a key organizer of the event.
Galster will provide much of the research laboratory data to hacker
participants to use for their projects, and he will also serve as a
judge for the competition.
"We wanted to join forces and challenge people to create innovative ways
to solve Air Force problems through analyzing human-centered research,"
said Galster. "Using a 'Hackathon' as our platform allowed us to bring
the community together in a fun and competitive way while supporting
October's event will begin with a brief background of the Air Force.
Participants will then form self-selected teams, most of which will
contain members who will be meeting and working together for the first
time. After teams have formed, a number of related software development
workshops will take place throughout the event's first day, to be
followed by LabHack's main charge -- an all-night hackfest.
Sixty-six registered hackers hail from a variety of backgrounds and
locations across the United States and Canada, including universities
and organizations such as Stanford University, California, Rutgers
University, New Jersey, University of Dayton along with AFRL, the Air
Force Institute of Technology and the National Air and Space
Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson AFB. Teams will include graphic
designers, interface designers, and project managers, working tirelessly
together throughout the night to build successful and creative
solutions to AFRL challenges.
"Specifically, LabHack will challenge teams to focus on streams of data,
and how to visualize them in an integrated way; how to conduct analysis
in near real-time; and how to make decisions based on the patterns that
emerge," said Galster.
"Each year the Department of Defense invests millions in integrating
warfighter technologies that focus on training, decision making,
performance, and ultimately linking human functionality to the
adaptability of war," Galster said. "We already know that Dayton and
Wright-Patterson AFB are brimming with entrepreneurial and innovative
talent pools across the government, academia, and commercial sectors. We
should take advantage of that when we can."
The following afternoon, teams will present their completed work to
Hackathon organizers and judges, who will review projects based on their
creativity, originality, technological complexity, and applicability in
solving an Air Force problem. Prizes include cash, books, and software
tools and services. All software created during the event will be
open-source, permissively licensed, and posted on the LabHack website.
A limited number of tickets remain for members of the public interested
in attending the workshops without the commitment of joining a team.
Registration for tickets is available via the LabHack website, http://www.labhack.org.