Americas Datafest home Auburn, Alabama


Thanks, and congratulations to our winners!

On behalf of Auburn University and Alabama Media Group, thank you to everyone who helped us make this event a success, from our participants to sponsors to coaches. This would not have been possible without you.

Congratulations are also in order for our local winners! Read more about the winning projects below:
Read's coverage of the event at the following links:

What is it about?

Simply put, this is hackathon built around the solving or addressing migration issues in the Americas (or in Alabama). Teams of students, researchers, data analysts, social scientists and computer programmers will be spending a solid 48 hours analyzing data, and/or creating a piece of software, a web application, a mobile app, or some other type of digital tool.

The teams will be working on the concept of the movement of people in North and South America. For Alabama, that could mean natural-disaster related movement, Hispanic immigration, shifting farming patterns, suburbanization or changes due to new industrial centers in the state.

The resulting project might be aimed at helping migrants themselves, experts who examine migration patterns and emerging trends, non-governmental organizations who provide services, journalists who report migration news or the public in general.

You can implement your ideas, build awesome stuff, and solve real migration issues. If this sounds like something that you're interested in, check out "How to participate" below.

Who is it for?

If you major in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering, work in a related field, or are simply someone who likes to code for fun:
Let's code the weekend away! Find your partners, build a team, and come to the event. Please keep in mind it is important to have a teammate from other majors or background. Collaboration from different areas can make a big difference.

If you work or study in other areas:
Don't turn away! Migration is a broad theme and we need knowledge from all areas. We believe hackers plus experts from different areas would make best team. So find your partners, or just reach in and we'll help you find a team.

Some examples of people we'd like to participate:
  • Migration or immigration experts who have problems that they need solved with technology
  • Journalists (students or professionals) who want to explore new ways to tell stories
  • Citizens who are passionate about migration issues and want to share their thoughts
  • Subject-matter experts – interpreters, paralegals, data analysts, etc. – who want to offer their expertise to the event participants
  • Non-profits or businesses who'd like to contribute people or resources
You don't have to be in Auburn on Nov. 2 and 3 to participate. You can send us ideas by email, Facebook group post or tweet.

I've got the skills, but why should I participate?

  • You read about a cool language, a nice tool, or a well designed framework. You wanted to master it, but never got time to learn it.
  • You came up with an awesome idea so great that you believe it'd change the world, but you never really got started working on it.
  • You're a student who's tired of class projects, and are looking for partners to work on some real-world problems.
Sound like you? Join a team!

Local awards

Two top teams will be nominated for global prizes.  The four local awards are as follows:
  • Overall winner, $1,000: Best all-around project based on the judging criteria.
  • Best Serving Alabama Award, $500: The project that best addresses an issue in our state.
  • The Hackers Award, $500: The project that demonstrates the most creative coding or technical prowess.
  • Judge's Choice, $500: A project that exemplifies the spirit of Americas Datafest — judges may give this award to a team that, for example, faced a particularly difficult challenge and came up with a creative solution.

 The overall winner will automatically be eligible for the global competition. The judging panel will then select one of the remaining three — Best Serving Alabama, The Hackers or Judge's Choice — to be the second local team entered in the global competition. 

We hope every participant will feel awarded for their efforts. So in addition to prizes mentioned above, we have also prepared twenty $20 Amazon Gift Cards.

Judging criteria for local awards

  • Practicality: The potential for the project to be used by its target audience.
  • Innovation: Creative and original thinking or execution. An element of surprise in either concept, design or structure.
  • Accessibility: Easily understood and useful to the target audience. User-friendly and intuitive interface.
  • Scalability: The ability to adapt the project for wider use.

Local judges

  • Martyn Williams, multimedia journalist and senior correspondent for IDG News Service. Covers Silicon Valley and technology and business news in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Dr. Levent Yilmaz, associate professor in Auburn University's Computer Science & Software Engineering department. Also serves as an associate professor for the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn.
  • Andrew Haeg, entrepreneur in residence at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism. Founder of Groundsource, a mobile research and engagement platform.


  • 6:00 PM:  Check-in (Grand Foyer, Shelby Center) & Dinner
  • 6:30 PM: Inception + Sponsor Intro
  • 7:30 PM: Make friends / Team Formations / Project Planning
  • 9:00 AM:  Breakfast & Coffee
  • 9:30 AM:  Start Hacking, Hustling & Designing
  • 12:00 PM: Lunch
  • 12:30 PM: Call for needs & skills
  • 1:00 PM:  Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • 6:30 PM: Dinner
  • 7:30 PM: Status Reports/Team Website (for global competition)
  • 9:00 PM: Hack, Hydrate, Eat. Sleep!
  • 8:00 AM: Doors open.
  • 9:00 AM: Breakfast & Coffee
  • 9:30 AM:  Hack, Hack, Hack
  • 10:30 AM: Call for help
  • 11:00 AM: Coaches Arrive - Ask Questions!
  • 12:00 PM: Lunch
  • 3:00 PM: Begin Presentation/Demo Preparation
  • 5:00 PM: Final Presentations/Demos
  • 6:30 PM: Judging & Awards & Dinner
  • 7:30 PM: Wrap-up & After Party
  • 9:00 PM: Go Home!

Participation and Registration

  1. Register (for free) on Eventbrite: Please ask each of your team member to register, and create/join the same team.
  2. Interested but don't have a team yet? Feel free to register and choose team N/A. Join our Facebook group to find your teammates.
  3. Want to contribute ideas? You can send us your thoughts by emailFacebook group post or tweet.
  4. Want to be available for a few hours on Nov. 2 or 3 to offer expertise to the teams, or want to participate in some way, but you're not sure how you can contribute? Contact Niki Doyle at or at 205-325-3180.

Ideas and resources for participants

Visit the main Challenges page, or check out our Alabama-centric ideas, resources and datasets page.

Alabama Media Group is the driver of conversation to bring people to the table to collaborate. Learn more about our partnership here.



Shelby Center, Auburn University, Auburn, AL

Shelby Center - Grand Foyer & Room 3129
Auburn University
Auburn, AL 36849
United States

November 2nd to November 3rd (CST)


Niki Doyle