Thursday, 5 May 2011

The hacker from Ipanema

We're just wrapping up the first day of the Brasil@Home hackfest in beautiful Rio de Janeiro, just a short walk from the famous Copacabana and Ipanema beaches.

Amazingly, despite the proximity of sun, sea and sand, we managed to keep 16 scientists, programmers and citizen science enthusiasts cooped up in a neon-lit room for nine hours of hacking. It seems almost cruel. But we didn't have to lock the door, really!

What did we work on? Better ways to visualize climate data produced by the citizen cyberscience projects Old Weather and A new volunteer computing project to look for drugs that can combat neglected parasite-borne diseases in Brazil. A plan to get a huge amount of scanned historical economics data about Brazil digitized, with the help of volunteers. And a commitment by enthusiastic local participants to set up a Brazilian citizen cyberscience website, and get the word out in Brazil. (You can read all about this and much more on the hackfest etherpad that the experts and participants jointly edited.)

And that's just the results of day 1. We're expecting a lot more from day 2. But right now we're off for the beach.