As posted in March we held back on further announcements about the ASPECT hackathon until the end of April to gather more information about what will and will not be possible in August. Well, April has ended, and we needed to make a decision. Given the current uncertainty about travel restrictions and the COVID-19 situation in August we (at CIG HQ and virtually during the ASPECT developer meetings) have decided to make this year’s ASPECT hackathon a purely virtual workshop. Participants that are co-located in an area are of course welcome to form smaller gatherings if this is safely possible at the time. This decision requires some adjustments from all of us, but we think it is the safest, most feasible, and most productive option we have available. This post will summarize our current thoughts on the format and the further process:
- Dates, Schedule, Weekends
A major part of the hackathon is the intense collaboration and the aim of sequestering ourselves away from families and workplaces so that we can be focused on getting things done. Virtually, we have to consider differences in time zones, our responsibilities outside the workshop, and the need to provide our own food. Therefore we feel a 2x5 weekday meeting, running Aug 3rd to Aug 14th, and removing the expectation (though not the possibility) of any work during the weekends is a better approach. Please make sure to still set aside essentially all of this time for the hackathon, as this will make sure you see the most progress in your projects. We also have plans to encourage organized (or spontaneous) social meetings replacing the common meals and evening activities to build and improve our sense of community :-).
- Organization, Collaboration, Technicalities
A virtual workshop will require new forms of collaboration. Luckily we already gathered a lot of experience during our virtual user meeting in January and we will collect more information during the virtual Tectonics Modeling Tutorial and Workshop in July. The hackathon will likely run as a virtual 24/5 global institute. We will schedule whole group video conferences at fixed times (during the most convenient times) and allow for flexible working groups and smaller presentations in between using a combination of technologies (likely Slack, Google Docs, and video conferencing). We will form mentoring groups for first time participants with principal developers to make this process as smooth as possible.
- Next steps
We will send acceptance emails to participants as usual within the next weeks. We will ask every participant to confirm their participation then, and will reconfirm when more technical information is sent closer to the hackathon start date (we know there is a lot of uncertainty in all of our schedules at the moment).
Our plans are evolving and we are eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please provide us feedback by posting to the ASPECT forum: https://community.geodynamics.org/c/aspect/13
Looking forward to seeing many of you again and meeting new members of our community.
on behalf of CIG HQ and all maintainers