Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Second annual rice hackathon to be held at IRRI Headquarters

The next big tech push for rice is slated to come on 31 August-1 September 2013 as the International Rice Research Institute gears up for the Bigas2 Hack—the sequel to last year's hugely successful BigAs Hackathon—an event for developers and programming aficionados who are willing to use their highly sought skills to benefit the world.

IRRI’s hackathons bring together young IT whizzes to spend two days developing an IT-based solution to a rice research problem. Last year’s event involved 57 developers from the Philippines. This year, the plan is to engage more people from the Philippines and beyond.

Bigas2 Hack is co-organized by Smart Communications, Inc. and Smart DevNet.
PhilRobotics, the winning team in 2012, came up with Envilog, a portable device that can take readings of temperature, rainfall, wind speed, wind direction, amount of sunlight, atmospheric pressure, humidity, and water height in rice fields.

Bigas2 Hack comes as part of the list of activities lined-up by IRRI towards rice sector development and in celebrating 2013 as the National Year of Rice.

This year's hackathon will formally allow interested participants to incubate their ideas longer, and then take it even further by developing prototypes.
There are two kinds of challenges which teams can choose from:

  • Short-term challenges - developers can work on a project during the event timeframe (this would likely target a farmer/consumer audience, and
  • Long-term challenges - developers will choose one of the three specific challenges identified by IRRI and may begin working on the project immediately upon registration (this would likely be a research-based product
Developers who are interested to work on problems within 24 hours of the event will be provided with data that can be plugged in relatively easily to complete their product.

For those interested in working on problems which require an extended period of time before the event, developers  would be provided with a comprehensive background before Bigas2 Hack.

The event charges no admission fee, but registering online is required and opened on 26 June 2013. A free bus ride from Makati will be provided to hackers coming from Manila. Though yet to be finalized, prizes may range from the latest gadgets, internship, and/or gift certificates for the winning teams, who compete for any one of these titles: Best Farmer Advice App, Best Delivery App (for consumers or game apps), Best Research Optimization App (runner-up), and Best Research Optimization App (winner).

Beyond the hackathon, the  innovations that arise out of Bigas2 Hack will have continued opportunity to develop into scalable prototypes. .

"Bigas2 Hack will be an opportunity for the hacker community to have a dip or do a deep dive into the world of ICT in agriculture," said IRRI Chief Information Officer Marco van den Berg.

"Join us to see how we're making sure that your rice bowls remain full and affordable using state-of-the- art technology, and tell us how we can make better use of technology that you are familiar with. Whether you're a geek, a nerd, a foodie, an aggie, we'd love to have you over! We'll even allow a quota of 'normal' people," he added.

“We also see this as an opportunity for any IT student to make use of their skills in helping out farming communities,” said Katie Nelson and Nicola Wunderlich, who are both part of the organizing team at IRRI for Bigas2 Hack.

Interested? Learn more about IRRI for potential Bigas2 Hack ideas.

Learn more about IRRI (www.irri.org) or follow us on the social media and networks (all links down the right column).


  1. Hi,

    I tried to register using my google account but I got: "You need permission to access this item." error. Are there other ways to register?


  2. Hi Edward, glad you're interested :) try this one instead: http://bigas2hack.eventbrite.com/

    Happy registering & see you there!


  3. Hi Ms. Bianca,

    Thanks for the reply. I've just noticed that the short and long term links are also not accessible. Any other links?


  4. Hi, Edward, sure, try this one (https://sites.google.com/a/irri.org/rice-hackathon/challenges/short-term) for short-term challenges and this one (https://sites.google.com/a/irri.org/rice-hackathon/challenges/long-term) for long-term challenges.

    Hope that helps,