CBC/Radio-Canada to hold first-ever national bilingual hackathon

CBC/Radio-Canada will hold its first-ever national bilingual Hackathon Feb. 1-3, which will challenge programmers to enhance the personalization of the public broadcaster’s digital platforms.

Sponsored by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft, the friendly tech competition is open to all Canadian residents, either on-site at the CBC Broadcast Centre Toronto or Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal, or remotely online.

Working in teams of three to five people, participants are tasked with developing a functional web or mobile prototype that uses personalization techniques to generate engagement between Canadians and CBC/Radio-Canada’s digital platforms. Hackathon guidelines suggest the prototype could, for example, generate news stories according to user interests, make content recommendations or personalize layout.

Interested amateur, professional and student programmers, designers and other digitally-inclined Canadians have until Friday, Nov. 30 to register their team’s application at cbc.ca/hackathon.

Nora Young, host and creator of CBC Radio One’s Spark, will emcee the English-language half of the competition in Toronto, while Radio-Canada TV and radio host Matthieu Dugal will act as the Hackathon’s French-language host in Montréal.

The national event expands on two previous Hackathons hosted by Radio-Canada.

“CBC/Radio-Canada is an incredibly digitally-focused and forward-thinking organization and the Hackathon provides a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our commitment in this area to like-minded Canadians from across the country in an engaging way,” said Lauris Apse, senior director, Digital Products, CBC. “We’re constantly working to refine and improve the user experience of our digital products, so who better to work with on new ways to personalize these platforms than the Canadians who use them on a daily basis?”

“As digital and social media continue to evolve, digital personalization opens up a world of possibilities to drive user engagement across multiple platforms,” said Maxime St-Pierre, executive director of Radio-Canada Digital Media. “The CBC/Radio-Canada Hackathon is a great opportunity to showcase creativity, collaboration and technological prowess. By inviting participants from inside and outside the company, we’re always looking for people to surprise us with innovative, relevant solutions. We’re excited about getting together to discuss the theme of personalization, which lies at the heart of the challenges we face today and in the future.”

To support the Hackathon effort, teams will be given API access to an anonymized sample of CBC/Radio-Canada content performance data. Teams will also have access to the Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS platforms.

Each member of the top team will receive $2,000, with secondary awards including a combination of cash, Xbox One, and Playstation 4 prizes. The top teams will be decided by a five-member panel made up of representatives from CBC/Radio-Canada, as well as digital experts from outside the corporation. Hackathon guidelines indicate teams will be judged on originality, code quality, positive impact, scalability and sustainability.


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