India's IT guru N.R. Narayanan Murthy Friday launched the first Indo-US hackathon, being held simultaneously at the campuses of global search engine Google here and at Mountain View in California.
Over this weekend, about 500-600 smart techies in both cities will create applications that will make people cope with natural disaster like earthquakes, drought or cyclones.
"It is a honour to be part of this wonderful event. Holding a hackathon is a great idea as each can learn from other in the competition and develop algorithm-based programmes for addressing problems in education, health, nutrition and shelter," Murthy said in a keynote address here.
Organised by Code for India, a non-profit organisation, which encourages techies to volunteer their time and talent to the developing world, the 24-hour non-stop parallel event will facilitate the geeks to develop tech-based applications to empower poor and address public service delivery issues.
"Though the government has a big role in bridging the gap between the rich and poor, we have also to play our part in finding solutions to societal problems," Murthy said.
Noting that about 500,000 NGOs were working across the country, Murthy said majority of them were not tech-savvy and lack tools such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) and related IT solutions that would make them efficient and productive.
"As NGOs get into uncomfortable situations with tax authorities and other stakeholders, they will be able to function better with the help of technology and solutions that are applicable in their services. As the biggest problem in India in handling natural calamities is not lack of resources but their management, as witnessed during the Tsunami disaster a decade ago," Murthy said.
Lauding the participants who gathered for the event from across the country, the Infosys co-founder hoped the applications they would develop at the hackathon would be beneficial not only to India but also to other developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America.
"Design a solution that will help a large number of NGOs attack meta problems they need to solve with the power of your applications and make life of millions of people better by using the algorithms effectively," Murthy told the techies.
Co-sponsored by theAWorld Bank Institute, the hackathon will show how the transformative power of technology would aid India and other developing countries facing similar problems arising out of failing public service infrastructure.
US-based Code for India founder Karl Mehta also addressed the gathering on the occasion from Google campus at Mountain View.