I’m a true believer in these hackathons. At this point in my career, nobody’s making me come. I want to be here.
Gary Laguna
wide shot of the room with hackathon teams working at tables

Scenes from Our 20th Hackathon

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Trees are budding, flowers are blooming, and Lawrence Livermore developers are hacking. Computation’s seasonal hackathon is held each spring, summer, and fall at the High Performance Computing Innovation Center. The March 28–29 event—the 20th hackathon—saw more than 40 teams gather for collaboration, experimentation, and fun.

The hackathon was organized by Computation employees Rita Bettenhausen, Dianne Calloway, Mikhail Fedorov, Rosie Gonzalez, Arsenia Rendon, Joshua Senecal, Jill Souza, and Garrett Wong. Allan Casey, National Ignition Facility Computing division leader, welcomed the crowd as the event kicked off.

Gary Laguna—hackathon veteran and deputy division leader for Applications, Simulation, and Quality—described how hackathons have evolved since the first one in 2012. Although start and end times have varied over the years, participants have never been required to remain onsite for all of the event’s 24 hours. “People have families to get home to or long commutes,” he said. “We appreciate your being here. There’s value even if you can’t stay long.”

Laguna also enumerated the hackathon’s many benefits, such as opportunities for networking and making connections. “The biggest advantage is the chunk of time you can dedicate to learning something new, creating a prototype, or catching up on other work with fewer-than-normal distractions,” he noted. “Hackathons have created a new community at the Laboratory that demonstrates a desire and commitment to lead Computation into the future as we strive to be leaders in our domain.”

The spring hackathon offered participants a stretch break led by an ergonomics specialist and an exercise break courtesy of the Laboratory’s U-JAM fitness program. Photos were taken by Randy Wong.

Figure 1. Left to right: Esteban Pauli, Elsa Gonsiorowski, and Greg Becker discussed their hackathon ideas as the event got under way.

Figure 2. Left to right: Brinda Jana, Joshua Senecal, and Yunki Paik conferred during the spring hackathon.

Figure 3. Dianne Calloway worked on her hackathon project.

Figure 4. Building off their project from the last hackathon, this team worked on text-to-speech functionality using Deep Voice 3.

Figure 5. Craig Cothren described the script he wrote to audit README and License files associated with Livermore’s open-source software repositories on GitHub.

Figure 6. An ergonomics specialist (left) and fitness instructor (right) helped hackathon participants counteract the effects of hunching over laptops throughout the event.