Sudbury

Calling all hackers! Hard-line inviting you to a 42-hour hackathon

Hard-Line, a Sudbury technology firm, is running its first hackathon to encourage programmers, engineers and coders to show off their technical know-how.

Sudbury company running event that pits programmers against a real-world problem

Sudbury-based Hard-Line is running a hackathon in January. (Casey Stranges/CBC)

Hard-Line, a Sudbury technology firm, is running its first hackathon to encourage programmers, engineers and coders to show off their technical know-how.

The 42-hour long event will pose a real-world problem that teams have a chance to bump heads over.

One of the event's goals is to see what kind of solutions teams come up with, but organizers like Hard-Line also use the hackathon to recruit talented hackers.

Korey MacDougall, Hard-Line's product development manager, said the company is looking for practitioners and students of machine learning, which is a branch of computer science

"They're going to be working in teams of up to four on two different challenges from different applications of machine learning to technical problems that we see in mining," MacDougall said.  

"One of [the challenges] is autonomous vehicle control, getting a machine to drive itself underground. The other one is figuring out where a machine is by looking at a camera feed. So that's a computer vision-based challenge."

Korey MacDougall is Hard-Line's product development manager. (Casey Stranges/CBC)

MacDougall said he hopes the hackathon serves another purpose.

"We want to see people making connections and having a good time," MacDougall said. "But we'd also like to see the technological profile of Sudbury elevated a little bit and to highlight the capabilities we have in the north."

MacDougall said it's becoming more important for Sudbury to make an impression on the next generation of tech workers as cities – especially in northern Ontario– struggle to attract and retain skilled workers.

"There's a perception that there's a bit of a brain drain to the south right now with technical jobs and technical talent," he said. "We think there's a lot of opportunity here with the infrastructure that we have. The educational systems we have, the companies that are here."

"There's a lot of opportunity for people to work in this area and some of that is not clear to people coming out of school or people that are considering relocating," MacDougall said.

For more information on the hackathon, visit the Hardline hacks website. 

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