DigiSocial Hackathon – A hackathon for postgraduate researchers

I’m co-organising the “DigiSocial” hackathon – an exciting attempt to adapt the hackathon format to scientific research and bring together a number of Cardiff University schools, including Social Sciences and Computer Science & Informatics, to stimulate interdisciplinary research. The event is targeted at postgraduate researchers at Cardiff University and is receiving primary funding from the Cardiff University Graduate College’s (UGC) postgraduate interdisciplinary initiative, with additional support from the School of Social Sciences (SocSci) and School of Computer Science & Informatics (CS&I).

Our motivation for organising this hackathon is the bring together the complementary skills of Social Scientists and Computer Sciences to carry out research that lies at the intersection of these two disciplines. We do not restrict ourselves to participants from only these two schools, however, as there are many researchers from other schools, such as Psychology and Journalism, that have an interest in this area of research.

The general workflow we anticipate – formulation, experiment, and analysis – requires a slightly different format to a typical hackathon. We want to allow the option for teams to collect new data from their own novel experiments, which may require more time than is available at a typical one- or two-day hackathon. Thus, we’re splitting the hackathon over two weekends, separated by two weeks. On the first weekend the attendees form interdisciplinary teams and devise projects to work on. If this collaboration were a TCP connection, this would be the establish phase. Most of the implementation happens over these first two days.

Then, the interdisciplinary connection is maintained for the intervening 10 days, with the aim of teams collecting their data. The data collection method depends on the research question, and could, for example, be a publicly accessible web experiment. The teardown phase on the final weekend is for teams to analyse and evaluate their data and experiments, and then present their idea and findings on the final afternoon.

The establish weekend is 15th - 16th (Sept), and the teardown weekend is 29th - 30th (Sept) . More information and a registration form can be found at the hackathon web page. Will Webberley and Wil Chivers are the lead representatives from CS&I and SocSci (respectively), and Chris Gwilliams and I are co-organising from the CS&I side.