The event may be called a hackathon, but the 60 youngsters participating are trying to make the world better rather than wreak computer carnage.
This is the first year that Costa Rica is involved in the event, which begins Saturday morning. The idea is to create under time constraints some kind of application or digital solution that benefits the public. The output may be to a computer, to a mobile telephone or a tablet, said organizers.
Youngsters in seven other countries will be doing the same thing. The themes with which the 15 teams here will work are agriculture, citizen security or health.
The event is being sponsored by the Grupo INCO, the Secretaría Técnica de Gobierno Digital, and the Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente. Grupo INCO is a professional creator of ways to handle data.
The youngsters are not just in the competition for the fun. The U.S. Embassy is offering four netbooks and Microsoft Corp. is putting up cash prizes that range up to $1,000.
The event will take place at the Fundación Quirós Tanzi, at Flexipark between Santa Ana and Belén. The young programmers will be creating for 36 hours straight, said a spokesperson. They really will not be hacking into forbidden areas. The programmers will be using data from the digital government source to create their applications and programs.
The other countries involved are Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, México, Perú and Uruguay.
Not all the youngsters involved are programmers. Some are graphic designers, and others related interest.
Previous projects elsewhere during what are also known as hack days include a system so citizens can contract directly lawmakers or a calendar that keeps track of vaccination dates and locations.