Timely event alert: Join a hackathon for disaster relief - Technical.ly Brooklyn

Oct. 10, 2016 11:39 am

Timely event alert: Join a hackathon for disaster relief

This weekend, NYU Tandon is teaming up with the National Defense University to “tackle some of the toughest Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief challenges facing modern urban centers.”
Hurricane Sandy: Oct. 29, 2012.

Hurricane Sandy: Oct. 29, 2012.

(Photo by Flickr user CCHO, used under a Creative Commons license)

Here’s a timely one: Do you ever see awful things in the world and think, If only I could do something about it? Well, here’s your chance.

This weekend NYU Tandon and MD5 — a public-private partnership between Washington, D.C.’s National Defense University, Tandon and other universities — will host MD5 hackathon/ nyc_ /F16.

With $15,000 up for grabs, teams with ideas for natural disaster relief will work through the weekend to pitch to a panel of impressive judges, including FDNY’s James E. Leonard and Stanford professor Tom Byers.

Register (free)

For the competition, teams will develop ideas into proof-of-concept solutions in three areas:

  • Logistics and planning
  • Communications
  • Response

These solutions can come from a variety of methods, but the competition notes augmented reality, sensor fusion, crowdsourcing, data analytics, robotics, wearables, autonomy and artificial intelligence.

There will be some heavy-hitter speakers as well, such as General Paul J. Selva , vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, president and dean of engineering at NYU Tandon.

The speakers will be part of the launch of the MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator. It’s unclear whether the incubator being announced will be in Brooklyn or elsewhere. According to a spokesman for MD5, “While the launch event on Friday at Brooklyn Navy Yard is the official launch of MD5 as an organization, the physical location of the accelerator has not yet been announced.” So we’ll wait on that.

This weekend we saw a natural disaster both destroy and kill Americans, but also prove the worth of disaster preparedness and solutions. Hurricane Matthew blew through the Carolinas, killing 17 people and causing record flooding. As awful as that is, it could have been worse if not for the safeguards and infrastructure in place. In Haiti, a nation with little in the way of emergency response, logistics, or communications, more than 900 people were killed by the storm, although that number is only a guess. From the New York Times:

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For now, though, there is no way to know the precise toll of the storm. There are still 500,000 people stranded in the south alone, officials said, because of extensive damage to an already feeble infrastructure. More than 170 people have been reported dead in Les Anglais, which for now is accessible only by helicopter.

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