Hacking. It’s not always a computer crime.

Come Feb. 2, it’s going to be about exploratory programming on the campus of Texas A&M University.

In the 2018 edition of Hackathon, a 24-hour interdisciplinary competition, participants will address diversity-related challenges. The competition is open to students, faculty and staff from all disciplines.

Teams of no more than eight will face off in the ultimate problem solving competition, with $5,000 in total prize money awarded. This year, participants will have access to open data from a variety of public sources to address the challenges.

Participants have a wide variety of options to choose from when presenting their solutions to the problems. Past participants have created apps, prototypes, visualizations, art, music and installations, however, this isn’t a definitive list. Teams are encouraged to be creative in delivering their projects.

Interested parties must register for the event, but participation, including t-shirts and food, is free. The event will be held in the Langford Architecture Center.

Challenges will be presented by the Center for Disability and Development, the Dwight Look College of Engineering, the GLBT Resource Center and the Collegiate League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

Prizes will be awarded to teams for Most Daring, Most Critical, Most Creative, Most Engaging, Most Practical and People’s Choice. These awards are subject to change and will be confirmed closer to the date of competition.

Hackathon began at Texas A&M in 2014, when the College of Architecture Diversity Council and the Center for the Study of Digital Libraries partnered to host the event. The goal was for teams to analyze available data, create engaging presentations and showcase them in an exhibition.

In 2014, two teams, Paco Taco and CRAMPS, tied as overall winners, splitting the $500 grand prize. Those teams consisted of students of education, liberal arts, engineering and economics. CRAMPS also walked away with the Most Diverse Team award and an additional $100.

If you are problem solver who is looking for a challenge, we highly suggest registering for this! Follow the event on Facebook at 2018 Hackathon: Diversify Space & Place, for links to more information on the event and to register.