Wednesday, April 17, 2013

UNO Computer Science Department Hosts State's First "Music Hackathon"

The University of New Orleans Computer Science Department partners this week with the Louisiana Technology Council and a group of local web developers and computer programmers to host the state's first "Music Hackathon," a creative convention where participants create music web applications.

"The goal is to work with the music community to create better outcomes and experiences for musicians and fans," said Travis Laurendine online.

Laurendine helped to found CODEMKERS, an organization dedicated to fixing problems using technology teams, in the runup to Super Bowl XLVII held in February in New Orleans. Local developers and programmers burgeoned with ideas for web applications but had little opportunity to engage with the Super Bowl directly. Travis created a "hackathon event" in which programmers and developers worked around the clock for 24 hours to establish web apps to help introduce visitors to the city.

The event, Travis said on the CODEMKERS website, was "created to galvanize the technology community to do its part to ensure that visitors to the city have a great time and that they leave New Orleans with technology as part of their fond memories."

Now, with support of The Louisiana Technology Council, CODEMKRS is spearheading more hands-on technology event, including the Music Marathon to be held at UNO.

The 24-hour Music Marathon at UNO -- affectionately called the "Music Hackathon" by computer types -- starts at 4 p.m. Friday, April 19 at UNO's Lindy Boggs Conference Center on the Lakefront campus. Participants will pitch their ideas at 5 p.m. Teams will form at 6 p.m. Demonstrations will be held the next day, from 3 to 5 p.m. April 20.

On the table for taking are a raft of enticing prizes including: Jazz Fest Tickets and Sync Up tent access, tickets to Hangout Fest, tickets to Outside Lands Fest, tickets to Buku Fest, tickets to The Howlin Wolf's "Fest By Night" series, work space at Launch Pad, membership to Dinner Lab, a prize package from Your Nutrition Delivered, a package from TuneUp and more.

Judges include: Grammy Award-nominated engineer and producer Reid Wick, who serves as production manager for the Recording Academy, a Grammy organization; Madhi Abdelgeurfi, chair of the UNO Computer Science Department, and Sherri McConnell, former executive director of Louisiana Entertainment, a division of Louisiana Economic Development.

The UNO Computer Science Department is heavily involved and students are encouraged to participate, said Abdelgeurfi in an email. Laurendine said online that "designers, musicians, and music industry fans with ideas are invited to attend."

The CODEMKERS Super Challenge led to eight new web applications, as well as positive press for technology in the City of New Orleans, said Laurendine.

"This 'hackathon' seeks to follow in the footsteps of New Orleans' musical innovation legacy that started in Congo Square and continues to this day," he told the Silicon Bayou News.

Learn more about the UNO Computer Science Department >>
Learn more about Codemkers >>
Learn more about the Louisiana Technology Council >>
Read a Times-Picayune article about the event >>