Dallas competition targeting problems Internet has yet to solve

Gary Needel, director of the Innovation Gym at SMU's Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, talks about a Dallas-based hack-a-thon competition. Two teams from SMU will compete to tackle problems via computer coding not yet solved by the internet.

By Hannah Cho

Teams of computer programmers, developers and others will vie for a $10,000 cash prize next month at a “hackathon” in Dallas aimed at solving problems that the Internet has yet to solve.

Dallas Venture Partners teamed up with tech development startup Dialexa to sponsor the 20over20 hackathon in September. The name represents this year’s 20th anniversary of the first public website and 20 problems that the organizers are soliciting from the public via crowd sourcing.

The idea came together during a discussion the two firms have regularly as strategic partners.

“We wanted to do something fantastic for the development community to showcase all the development talent that Dallas has,” said Matt Himelfarb, managing partner at DVP, a venture capital firm.

Dialexa executive Mark Haidar said the hackathon also was conceived to replicate the life cycle of how technology companies are launched: from identifying a problem to finding an answer to actually building and testing the solution.

Added co-founder Scott Harper, “We truly believe that concepts or companies that are formed to solve a real problem have the tendency to really succeed.”

In recent weeks, the 20over20 hackathon has received a steady stream of problems through Twitter and on its website. Suggestions range from organizing medical records for pets to creating a social platform to engage in cooperative farming to reducing the duplication of social services.

The organizers have gotten the support of Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas. SMU will field two teams, one from the engineering school and another from Guildhall, the school’s graduate video game education program....

What: A hackathon intended to solve problems that the Internet has not solved yet. Problems will be crowd sourced.

When: Sept. 18 to 22

More info: http://www.the20over20.com