NASA has requested scientists, developers, engineers and artists from all around the he world to design apps for some futuristic ideas. The challenge was launched during the space agency’s annual space apps hackathon, which will take place this weekend.
The event lasted three days and was organized in more than 135 locations around the world, while the global competition is hosted by New York City.
What started out as easy road for NASA to gather innovative ideas from the outside has become an important platform for the agency, but also for technology companies and academic institutions to scout global tech talent.
This year’s edition marks a collaboration between IBM and NASA to provide cloud services to all those participating at the hackathon, the company announced Tuesday.
Participants will be offered access to IBM’s Bluemix platform, but also to other signature tools developed by the company, like some of the features of supercomputer Watson which is used to crunch NASA data. IBM specialists will provide technical support during the event.
Google, Intel, Microsoft and other tech giants are among dozens of partners and associates on the competition.
“We want to provide developers access to the top technology trends to spur innovation,” said Sandy Carter, general manager of the IBM’s cloud division. The decision to team up with NASA is a three-fold strategy to raise awareness about Bluemix, encourage interest in technology careers, but also connect with the developer community and.
The company held a similar project at Washington’s Howard University in March, offering supercomputer Bluemix as a development platform to computer science and engineering students. Only last week. IBM announced it would invest around $3 billion in a new business unit called Internet of Things.
For the NASA hackathon, IBM wants to award $120,000 worth of Bluemix services to 30 winners who came up the most creative and innovative apps.
These awards are in addition to NASA’s own prizes, which will be offered by judges in five categories, among them “best use of data,” and “most inspiring.” The winners could have their apps used during NASA projects.
NASA’s robotics challenge, but also also the space exploration, human health and earth science areas are also represented at the event. The agency needs apps to track asteroids, print space food, improve crop growing practices, but also measure and improve astronaut health.
The event will be held April 10-12 and participants can register on the NASA Web site.
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