Hackathon held during Hmong New Year celebrations in Fresno

Kernels of ideas are forming on the keyboards at The Fresno Center in southeast Fresno where the art of computer programming is getting the same recognition as other art forms.

The Celebrate Hmong art and media festival coincides with Hmong New Year celebrations at the Fresno fairgrounds and programmers from UC Merced and the Bay Area gathered on Saturday to brainstorm social issues that might apply to everyone.

"We have visual art, performing art, film, as well as literary art and the key component to putting it all together is a Hackathon to engage our youth as well as people who are interested in technical professions," said Renee Ya of Tiber Byte Studios.

"A Hackathon is a 24-hour hack where you basically come up with a new product. So our focus for our social hackathon, the problem thesis, is, 'How do we unite the Hmong community through art and technology?'" Renee added.

A description of the hackathon was also on Celebrate Hmong's website.

In the span of a single day, the programmers will identify potential problems and write the code for solutions they can sell during presentations Sunday at the fairgrounds.

"The goal of the Hackathon is to make it so people from the community can see these business-viable solutions that are generated within 24 hours so they can be able to maybe even build a whole business out of it," said Renee.

They'll find out how good their ideas are on Sunday afternoon when a panel of judges chooses the winners who earn cash prizes.

The plan is to do it all over again next year, but hopefully with the CEO of a year-old business leading the way for a new group of programmers.
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