Cleantech lovers ready to 'hack' to their hearts' content

Jay-E Emmingham is the facilitator of the May 18 Portland Cleanweb Hackathon.

Jay-E Emmingham is the facilitator of the May 18 Portland Cleanweb Hackathon.

The Pacific Northwest Cleanweb Hackathon may have an unwieldy, even obtuse, name, but event organizers’ mission is airtight.

The first such “hackathon” takes place May 18 at Earth Advantage’s downtown Portland digs. The phrase “hackathon” actually means an assembly of programmers seeking valid solutions to tech problems, as opposed to promoting the practice of hacking, or gaining access to others’ electronic data through untoward means.

In this case, organizers want participants to devise solutions to issues related to energy, waste, water and transportation. The ideas will be formulated through Web, mobile and social media technologies.

“The ‘hackers’ are actually developers who look at datasets to see if there’s any type of pattern and come up with ideas on how to use that information to solve environmental issues,” said Jay-E Emmingham, the project’s facilitator for Portland.

In Portland, the Hackathon teams will include at least two members who need to turn their idea into a prototype within 28 hours.

The teams will present their prototypes to judges Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

Emmingham organized two Cleanweb Hackathons in New York.

“I’m really passionate about it, it’s a good opportunity to connect (the tech community) with funding and also help the local environment,” she said. “It’s rewarding when you see ideas and projects grow from the beginning. Maybe one of these will become the next Facebook.”

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