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Click here to see pictures from VIScon 2019.

From the 9th to the 11th of October, 2020 you will have the opportunity to compete against your fellow students in a Hackathon.

Following the complete rebuild of our IT-infrastructure over the last two years, it’s now really easy to develop VIS applications. We want to encourage students to tackle real-world problems in an inspirational environment.

Your team’s work will be judged based on functionality, aesthetics, ease-of-use and overall feel by a selected jury. This is a great opportunity to apply the knowledge from your studies in practice.


Develop a web app to improve students’ lives or to ease the work of VIS volunteers.

To ensure that the developed apps provide added value for students or the VIS, we will provide concrete ideas and problem statements for you to choose from. If you have your own idea for a web application, please contact hackathon[at]vis.ethz.ch.

Hackathon FAQ

What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is an event in which software developers, designers and other creative minds come together and work on an idea for a few days.

What can I build?

You will develop a web application. We will provide proposals for projects and you can choose the idea that you like most.

I have an idea for a web application. Can I submit it somewhere?

Contact us at hackathon[at]vis.ethz.ch to submit your idea.

When and where can I register?

You will be able to register on this website, stay tuned!

How much does it cost?

The hackathon is totally free of charge.

How many people are in a team?

A team will consist of four to five people.

I want to participate, but don’t have a team yet. Any idea what to do?

You can register individually and find a team later. If your team is still missing a few members, we may assign individual participants to join you. We do this so that teams consist of four to five people.

What do I need to bring?

Your computer (laptop or desktop), chargers, toiletries and a sleeping bag or blanket and pillow.

Will there be food?

Yes, we will provide food. There will also be vegetarian options.

Which kinds of accommodation will there be?

We will provide a resting zone and showers.

What is the “infrastructure-workshop”, when is it and why is it a good idea to attend?

Note: this information concerns the Hackathon 2019.

What: The workshop will introduce you to the IT infrastructure of the VIS. This includes the deployment process and how to use the “visdev” development environment with Docker. You will attend this workshop as a team.

The slides can be found here.

When: Either on Thursday, October 3 (17:15 - 19:30) at CAB H 52 or on Monday, October 7 (17:15 - 19:30) at HG E 23.

Why: See below.

Is the “infrastructure-workshop” mandatory?

No, the description of the installation process will be provided in PDF format. You can try to follow it by yourself at home, but we strongly encourage you to attend the installation event, so that you don’t waste precious time during the hackathon. We recommend the workshop to everyone who has never developed an app for the VIS.

What do the mentors do? How will mentoring work?

We have mentors to support you during your development process. Team mentors are there to help you throughout the entire hackathon. Topical mentors can provide advice regarding specific topics like database engineering, UI/UX design, etc.

Who will rate our final pitches?

Your pitches will be rated by a jury, which includes the team’s mentor as well as stakeholders and active VIS members.

Will there be prizes?


I don’t want to be photographed. Is there anything I can do?

We will distribute stickers for your badge to indicate if you don’t want to be photographed. We will make sure to respect your privacy. If you have further concerns or want to have your picture removed, contact us at hackathon[at]vis.ethz.ch.

Can I still take part in the Symposium?

Yes, you can - just make sure that your team is okay with you leaving for some amount of time. If you want to attend a workshop, you will still have to register for it. More information on how to register for a workshop will follow.

Who owns the code I will create?

The VIS wants to productively use as many of the hackathon’s projects as possible to provide amazing services to its students. To enable that, the VIS needs the right to use, share and modify the code, and even re-license it. However, the VIS does not need exclusive rights, and the code will still be yours. So if you also want to build a fancy start-up with your code, go right ahead ;)

I want to help. What can I do?

Stay tuned to get more information on available helper shifts and rewards or contact us at viscon[at]vis.ethz.ch.

I want to join the VIScon Committee. What can I do?

We need your help to make VIScon an amazing experience. If you’d like to help, don’t hesitate to contact us at viscon[at]vis.ethz.ch. You can join our team with your preferred focus: Operations, Symposium, Hackathon, Infrastructure or Catering.

I have more questions!

Send us an email at hackathon[at]vis.ethz.ch.