The University of Florida, in partnership with IBM, is calling on the country’s brightest minds to join a virtual innovation challenge aimed at addressing the Sunshine State’s most pressing conservation issues.
Innovators of all experience levels are invited to join the IBM Data Science Community by participating in the Florida Hacks with IBM hackathon, an event where students will be asked to help combat the significant observable effects occurring in the environment.
“This is an opportunity for student hackers from across the country to create solutions that make a difference by tackling some of the toughest problems facing Florida and beyond,” said Joe Glover, UF’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Whether you’re an experienced hacker or new to coding, we encourage you to join us and become a part of the next generation of problem solvers and sustainability experts.”
Students who want to make a difference will choose from six “challenge statements” — from preserving Florida’s coastal ecosystems to addressing Florida’s energy consumption. Their challenge is to produce solutions addressing their selected issue while using IBM technologies, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
Additionally, experts at the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and IBM will support participants by offering mentorship throughout the competition and giving access to courses in IBM’s AI technologies.
Participants will be competing for a $100,000 prize pool, which includes a $30,000 grand prize, $20,000 for second place, and $15,000 for third place. Also, the three winning teams will earn access to UF’s HiPerGator AI, the fastest university-owned supercomputer in U.S. higher education, to work on a future project of their choosing. HiPerGator AI was recently ranked one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world by the TOP500, the most referenced global ranking of high-performance computing systems.
Registration for the hackathon is restricted to U.S. residents and opens Wednesday, June 30. Participants must be 16 years or older. Those who are under 18 years of age will require a signed parent or guardian consent form or risk getting disqualified. The ideation phase, when teams work on developing their ideas, runs Aug. 25 through Sept. 10. The deadline to submit final presentation videos and projects is Oct. 22.
The event is ideal for student innovators who are interested in sustainability. However, no past experience with conservation or coding is necessary. Participants have the opportunity to grow their skills in problem-solving, innovation, environmental research, and coding.
In addition to IBM, UF is partnering with BeMyApp, a hackathon organizer, and the Florida Technology Council, an organization that focuses on the needs of the state’s technology sector, for this event.