Edit this page

NWB Workshops and Hackathons

Remote hackathon

Hackathon Events

Upcoming Events

Past Hackathons



The Neurodata Without Borders: Neurophysiology (NWB:N) Hackathon is a hands-on activity lasting several days in which neurophysiology researchers create solutions using the open source NWB:N software packages.

Participants work collaboratively on solutions that use the NWB unified data format for cellular-based neurophysiology data, which is focused on the dynamics of groups of neurons measured under a large range of experimental conditions. In contrast to conferences and workshops where the primary focus is to report results, the objective of the Hackathon is to provide a venue for creators and users of neurophysiology open-source software to collaboratively work on any related research projects.

When, where, how much?

To be determined based on participation. This year there will be a development focused Hackathon in Early April in Seattle, and then a user on-boarding tutorial Hackathon in late April in Berkeley. Ad-hoc meetings are added occasionally. We plan to have at least one more Hackathon in 2019. For this first Hackathon, breakfast and lunch will be covered and there will be no registration fee. These logistics are expected to evolve with the Hackathons. The NAMIC Project Week which has influenced the NWB Hackathon currently has a registration fee that participants pay, which covers breakfast, lunch, coffee and snacks during the day.

How does it work?

Weekly videoconferences for preparation begin 8-12 weeks before an event (see each Hackathon page for details). Potential participants propose projects during these meetings, and collaboratively create a list of projects that are of mutual interest. The projects include platform work, algorithm development, analytics, visualization, and neurophysiology applications and research tasks. Projects are not limited to code development, but can include creation of documentation and tutorial materials.

Through the course of the preparatory meetings, each participant selects one or more project teams and develops goals for the Hackathon. The first day of the Hackathon itself begins with a 2-hour in-person introduction to all projects and participants. The rest of the Hackathon consists of a mix of working sessions and breakout sessions on special topics, as decided by the participants during the preparatory meetings.

The projects should be something that can largely be accomplished in a few days, ideally fun, and can help your lab make progress on your research goals. The projects will be written up at the end in a publicly accessible resource that can be used by the community and can be referenced on grant proposals and reports. Projects could be coding, documentation, or tutorials.

Email announcements are sent to the Hackathon mailing list (for continuity and permanence across hackathons), and communication specific to each event will happen on a dedicated Hackathon forum (see each Hackathon page for details).

Who can attend?

Due to limited space the hackathons participation is currently on an invitation-only basis. If you are interested in attending a hackathon then please contact the organizer of the hackathon directly. We are always excited to see new members join the NWB:N community. One-day participation is permitted for first-time attendees, but participants are strongly encouraged to stay for the entire event.

Who should attend?

This is harder to determine. Your best bet is to contact us (see below) or attend a preparatory videoconference (see each Hackathon page for details).

What is the history of NWB hackathons?

The NWB:N team consists of neuroscientists and software developers who recognize that creation and adoption of a unified data format is an important step toward breaking down the barriers to data sharing in neuroscience. Hackathons are a way for us to collaborate and develop NWB:N as well as to engage with the NWB:N user community. For an overview of NeurodataWithoutBorders see http://nwb.org/.

As part of the development of NWB:N 1.x two hackathons were held at Janelia Farm, in Ashburn, Virginia; the first hackathon on November 20 – 22, 2014 and the second one on May 14-16 at, 2015 (http://crcns.org/NWB/). As part of the development of NWB:N 2.0 a first hackathon was held at Janelia Farm, in Ashburn, Virginia on July 31 - August 1, 2017. The primary focus of the first three hackathons has been on development of the NWB:N format as well as on development of a software strategy for NWB:N.

To encourage the development, growth and use of NWB:N as a unified data format for cellular-based neurophysiology data, the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and Kitware are organizing a development-focused hackathon at the Allen Institute for Brain Science (April 3-6, 2018) and a user-engagement and training hackathon at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (April 25-27).

This page is hosted from the NeurodataWithoutBorders organization’s nwb_hackathons repository on github.com and is published at neurodatawithoutborders.github.io/nwb_hackathons/