AWS News Blog

AWS re:Invent Hackathon 2013

We have organized a unique Hackathon for re:Invent 2013. The event will run from 9:00 AM to Midnight on November 12th in Ballroom A of the Venetian conference center in Las Vegas.

Hack Away
Participants will assemble into teams and compete to solve a challenge faced by one of four non-profit organizations that have agreed to attend and participate. Here are the organizations and the challenges:

  • United Way wants an app to help users find volunteer opportunities in their area.
  • Donor’s Choose wants to make their data more accessible to researchers.
  • Cancer Research UK wants to help mobile users turn their bad behaviors into positive change.
  • NASA/JPL wants to index and combine 11 data sets to allow users to subscribe to notifications for various terrestrial and extraterrestrial events.

Where appropriate, the teams will be provided with data in CSV form, suitable for parsing and loading into a database. Full instructions will be provided at the event.

Breakfast will be served at 8:00 AM to give attendees the opportunity to fuel up, mingle, and to form teams. After a few introductory remarks at 9:00 AM, coding will commence at 9:15 AM and proceed uninterrupted until 10:00 PM.

We will provide food, power, white boards, connectivity, AWS credits, and AWS expertise throughout the day.

At 10:00 PM, each team will have three minutes to demonstrate their work to the audience and to the panel of judges.

The judges will announce the results at 11:30 PM and the hackathon will wrap up at the stroke of Midnight.

Judging and Prizes
The judges will evaluate each entry against the following criteria:

  • Successfully meeting the needs of the organization (0-10 points).
  • Appropriate use of AWS services (0-5 points).
  • Design, presentation, and creativity (0-5 points).
  • Technical expertise (0-5 points).
  • Wow factor (0-5 points).

One runner-up winner will be chosen for each of the four challenges. Each member of the winning team will receive $250 in AWS credits and an AWS re:Invent Hackathon t-shirt.

One of the four teams will be awarded the grand prize.  Each member of the winning team will receive the items listed above, plus VIP tickets to the re:Invent Pub Crawl, a signed copy of Scott Berkun’s new book, The Year Without Pants (a very good read, by the way), and an Amazon Kindle. I will review the winning entry in a blog post.

Prepare to Hack
We are looking forward to seeing everyone who has registered for the hackathon. If you will be there, please take some time to complete your profile ahead of time. This will streamline the process of team formation, giving you more time to hack.

See you there!

— Jeff;

PS – If you are from the Press, and would like to attend and observe, please contact us at and we’ll issue you a pass for the day.

Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr is Chief Evangelist for AWS. He started this blog in 2004 and has been writing posts just about non-stop ever since.