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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of our most frequently asked questions. If you do not find what you need, please contact us!

What is a hackathon?

In general, a hackathon is where people work in teams to solve interesting problems using minimal resources and maximum brain power. Teams are made up of diverse backgrounds and specialties to address problems in creative and novel ways. Our hackathon will be focused on topics within the microbiome field. Teams will use principles from data science, computational biology, microbiology, statistics, and more to develop interesting questions and out-of-the-box solutions. At the end of the weekend, teams will present their work to a panel of judges and the top five teams (see Details for information on judging categories) will be awarded cash prizes!

Do I need to know how to code?

No! You do not need to be able to code to participate. Everyone brings with them a unique perspective and skill set that is valuable to the hackathon experience. Teams should be set up in a way that everyone can contribute something unique to the project.

Do I need to have a team already to participate?

No. Teams will form on Friday evening over dinner.

How long do I have to physically be at the hackathon?

This really depends on your team and your projects, but in general, you should plan to be there a significant amount of time each day. There are certain times that you are required to be present including team check-ins, presentations, and judging. Even though the eHub space will be available to us 24 hours a day, no one is expected to pull an all-nighter. Teams should be open about discussing expectations and time management with each other.

Do I need an idea to participate in the hackathon?

No. You can absolutely just show up to the hackathon. However, if you have an idea, we would love to hear it when you register for the event! Additionally, if you would like to be a team leader, let us know on the registration form. A few weeks before the hackathon we will review submitted ideas and contact some people to be team leaders. We will work personally with the leaders to help them solidify their ideas and get them any data they may need. On the first day of the hackathon, team leaders will present their ideas to everyone and teams will form. NOTE: Submitting an idea or being chosen as a team leader does not mean the team is committed to pursuing that idea, but it could be a good starting point! 

Does Cornell own the ideas generated at the hackathon?

The focus of the hackathon is exposure: to data science, computational biology, the microbiome, and hackathons in general. Ideas generated are generally in their very early stages for which limited, if any, intellectual property is developed. Cornell generally does not have ownership rights to ideas generated by students at the hackathon. To the extent Cornell Policy 1.5 applies, it remains in force. Cornell Policy 1.5 requires individuals, as conditions of their university appointments or their use of university resources, to assign to the university all right, title, and interest in their inventions and related property rights that result from activity conducted in the course of their university appointments and/or their use of university resources. 

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