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Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK)
Random Hacks of Kindness - Hacking for Humanity

Looking to make a difference? NASA, Google, Microsoft, The World Bank and Yahoo! are inviting software developers, independent hackers and students to participate in the Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) event on December 4 and 5 in over a dozen locations around the world.

RHoK is a global hack day all about using technology to make the world a better place by building a community of innovation. A RHoK Hackathon event brings together the best and the brightest hackers from around the world, who volunteer their time to solve real-world problems. RHoK collaborates with subject matter experts in disaster risk to develop and define problems, which form the framework of a RHoK hack day—a marathon weekend event of competitive coding, gathering software engineers together to develop software to respond to global challenges and crises.

The RHoK#2 global hack day will take place in locations around the world, including Chicago, Bangalore, Sao Paolo, Nairobi, Aarhus, New York, Berlin, Lusaka, Toronto and Mexico City. RHoK is an opportunity to meet and work with top software developers and experts from around the world, create new applications, and maybe even win some prizes while you are at it.

For more details or to register for any of the global events, please visit

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What is Random Hacks of Kindness?

Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) isa unique collaboration between Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, NASA and the World Bank dedicated to using technology to make the world a better place by building a volunteer community of innovation.

RHoK brings the ever-growing global hacker community together with experts in disaster risk management to identify critical global challenges, and develop software to respond to them. A RHoK hackathon event draws on the talents and initiative of the best and the brightest hackers from around the world, who volunteer their time to respond to real-world problems with solutions that can have an immediate impact on the ground.

How does it work?

RHoK organizes hackathons—marathon hacking events with multiple global locations bringing together developers from all over the world to hack on real-world problems.

We work together with subject matter experts from around the world to define and refine some of the biggest disaster risk challenges facing humanity, turning them into concrete problem definitions. At every RHoK hackathon, the problem definitions are shared with the RHoK community, and the developers work their hacking magic to create open source software solutions that respond to those problems, make the world a safer place and save lives.

A RHoK hackathon is a fast-paced competition where software developers have a set amount of time to solve challenges they are given. At the end of a two-day marathon of hacking, a panel of experts will review each hack and the winners will walk away with prizes and the opportunity to see their applications put to use on the ground to respond to critical disaster risk challenges.

A bit of history

RHoK held its inaugural hackathon, RHoK #0, in Mountain View, California in November 2009, resulting in software solutions that were used on the ground during the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile in early 2010.

In June, 2010, RHoK #1 took the initiative global, with a main stage event in Washington D.C. and simultaneous satellite events in Kenya, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia and Chile. Hundreds of volunteers around the world, spread across five time zones and working in multiple languages, collaborated for forty-eight hours of intense brainstorming, programming and coming up with important solutions to be implemented on the ground to lessen disaster risk and improve response where disasters strike. The winning hack from the Washington D.C. event, a visual tool to map landslide risk, is already being implemented by the World Bank in landslide affected areas, and other hacks have been received interest and support from governments and risk management specialists worldwide.

RHoK #1 had broad support from event partners in each global location, including the U.S. State Department,, the Crisis Commons and Understanding Risk Communities, Digitales por Chile, and many local universities. The global hackathon received international publicity, with coverage in 93 online news media sources, over 13,500 hits on the Internet, 2.2 million Twitter impressions, a post on the White House blog and a feature article in Brazil's top tech magazine.

Why is NASA Participating?

Since its inception, NASA has demonstrated an unparalleled ability to tackle massively complex and ambitious goals to forward the human endeavor. As a result of its decades long development of technology in robotics, intelligent systems, satellites, human spaceflight and data analysis, visualization and modeling, NASA has a powerful and intelligent network of scientists and engineers.  NASA has 14 spacecraft currently orbiting the Earth monitoring the dynamic Earth environment. With terabytes of new Earth Science data available each day, NASA's scientists and engineers are at the forefront of understanding our global system. This data, together with 40 years of archived data, is a global resource for the development and reconstruction community.  NASA is constantly collaborating with partners, from governments and universities to corporations and individuals. NASA supports RHoK to create a developer community to enhance and enable development and reconstruction efforts to share information, have access to timely data, and to collaborate publicly to solve some of the toughest social and environmental challenges today.

What's next?

RHoK is gearing up for its next international hackathon event on December 4th and 5th, with a main stage location on each continent, in Chicago, Nairobi, Sao Paulo, Aarhus and Bangalore and numerous global satellite hackathons, including Toronto, Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco, Mexico City, Lusaka, Berlin, Bogota, Tel Aviv, Juarez, Singapore, Birmingham, Jakarta and Buenos Aires.

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