Hackathons

What Is This Mysterious ‘Hacker Olympics’?

Hush-hush hackathon hunts for the city's cleverest coder, no recruiters allowed.

neo What Is This Mysterious Hacker Olympics?

Who is the best hacker in New York City? A tipster just forwarded us a link to this: The Hacker Olympics: NYC 2.18.12, The Search for the Chosen One. Here is a hackathon that really will be all hackers! The venue is secret, revealed only after the hacker solves a puzzle, a long, jumbly string that must be translated into a 10-digit number. “Hacker Policy: Don’t be a dick and share the answer,” the site says. “The point of this challenge is to weed out non-hackers and give you a fun and interesting way to register for the hackathon, k?”

We set about trying to unmask the event’s organizers. “It’s being put on by ‘Morpheus,'” one hacker with knowledge of the event told Betabeat. “Morpheus is an anonymous hacker. While it is not clear where he first appeared, or even if ‘he’ is a single person, the handle was first seen on usenet boards many years ago.”

The site describes the event thusly:

The Hacker Olympics is not your run of the mill hackathon. They don’t want to see your slide deck of Groupon for Cats or your app that uses social, mobile, and daily deal technology to generate wubbin’ dubstep beats. This is a non-elimination tournament where hackers from all areas of expertise and skill levels have a chance to accell in wildly diverse challenges. You will be challenged to build unconventional, often useless technologies that show off your pure hacking skills. You will be judged based on creativity, speed, and overall hacking knowledge.

The event will be around 45 hackers, our source said, and there’s cash on the line. “There will be multiple prizes, both for teams and individuals, but they haven’t yet been revealed,” the source said.

It’s impossible to run an event that’s free for the participants without sponsors, so don’t expect an ad-free space; but as hackathans are increasingly turning into recruiting fairs and “make some apps on our platform” parties, the hacker-only hackathon should be a refreshing return to cold hard coding. Betabeat has set about trying to secure an invitation to this event. Although we can type but a few lines of Javascript, we don’t take up much space and we won’t try to recruit anybody, we swear.

Follow Adrianne Jeffries on Twitter or via RSS. ajeffries@observer.com

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