Submit Project

Computer Science for Life

Let's hack genomics and win prizes!

The HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge is a unique event to engage the development community and take on challenges in life sciences using business strategy, software development and technology. 
Register Now
Save the date! #HATCH2020 will take place March 6-8
2020 Tech Challenge Recap  

What is the HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge?

Presented by HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Urban Engine and Acclinate Genetics

Huntsville, Alabama

The event will be held at: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, 800 Hudson Way, Huntsville, AL 35806.

March 6-8, 2020

A special kickoff event begins Friday, March 6 at 4:30pm. Come meet some of the other participants, build your team, and talk with mentors (optional). The Tech Challenge begins Saturday, March 7 at 8:00 AM and will wrap up Sunday, March 8 at 7:00 PM.

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

HudsonAlpha is passionately exploring and growing the knowledge and possibilities of genomics to generate new discoveries.

Tech Challenge

An event in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming, visualizations and more.


Are you up to the challenge? Check out what challenges are in store for HATCH 2020!

Have a question about one of the challenges or the hackathon in general? Join our Slack channel!


Impact - How much impact (quality and quantity) can this solution have? Does this solution address the problem in a highly significant way?
Creativity - How creative is the team’s approach? Is the solution new? Does the solution represent something that isn’t being addressed by the market?
Complexity - How much progress did the team make during the event? Did they start from scratch or build on an existing solution?
Product - How user friendly is the technology? How fully formed/mature is the idea?
Presentation - Did the team effectively communicate their solution? Did they tell the story of the project and why it is important in a compelling way? How well did they respond to questions from judges?


Friday, March 6
4:30pm - Registration and Matchmaking
5pm - Program Begins
6pm - Challenge Workshops and Q&A opportunity
Saturday, March 7
8am - Registration Opens
10am - Introduction of HudsonAlpha and The Challenges
11am - Hackathon Begins!
11pm - High School Students Depart
Sunday, March 8
6am - High School Students Return
2:30pm - CODE FREEZE
3pm - Submission Deadline
3pm - 5pm - First Judging Round
5:30pm - Final Pitches

Tech Challenge Workshops

Location: Huntsville West - 3001 9th Ave SW, Huntsville AL 35805

February 12th, 2020

Workshop Time Instructor
Prototyping with Jupyter & Flask 6:00PM Philip Eason
DotNet Basics (C#) 7:00PM Patrick Philips
Introduction to React 8:00PM Matt Brooks

February 19th, 2020

Workshop Time Instructor
Intro to Github 6:00PM Daniel Heater
Getting Started with Heroku 7:00PM Tyler Hughes
DotNet Windows Presentation Foundation 8:00PM Patrick Philips

February 26th, 2020

Workshop Time Instructor
Blender Basics 6:00PM Leon Kennedy
Python 101 7:00PM M Ensley w/ WWCode
How to work with a team 8:00PM Daniel Heater

March 4th, 2020

Workshop Time Instructor
How to work with a team 6:00PM Daniel Heater
How to create a winning presentation 7:00PM Jonathan Heath
Challenge Discussion 8:00PM Matt Brooks

How to prepare for the Tech Challenge

Follow the steps outlined below to get ready for the event ahead of time.


Fill out forms

Click here to review agreements and download the legal forms you must fill out to participate.


Register for event

The early bird gets the worm, click here to signup for the event now.


Show Up

We can't wait to see you at the event, don't forget your laptop!


* There are no limits to the size of teams, but we find that teams of 3-5 people work better for hackathons. Also, only 5 people per team will qualify for prizes if they win.
* Participants must sign up for the event in Eventbrite and sign all of the waivers in order to to participate.
* Participants may come and go as they like during the event. However, high school students must depart by 11:00pm Saturday night and may return at 6:00am Sunday morning.
* All code must be created during the event. Use of open source libraries are allowed as long as the project is publicly available. Use of commercial software is also allowed.
* Use of design mocks or wireframes will not be allowed during the presentation. We want real working software and apps.
* Presentations will be strictly limited to 5 minutes with an additional 2 minutes for questions from the judges.
* Participants must provide their own laptops, and mobile/tablet devices for use during the event.
* Come on your own or create a team. We also want to encourage collaboration among attendees so if you find a team or person with a valuable asset to support your idea/concept, feel free to team up when you arrive.
* External hard drives are permitted for the hacking event itself. If you want a power strip bring it!

Frequently Asked Questions

If these FAQs don't answer your question, please reach out.

1. What is the HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge??

The HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge is a hackathon hosted by the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. During this two-day event, teams take on exciting challenges in biotech and attempt to solve those challenges through innovation and creativity. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about some of the new frontiers in biotech, and work collaboratively to create solutions.

2. Who can participate?

High school students, college students and adults interested in taking on challenges are welcome! There are two categories of teams: high school and college/adult. You don’t have to be a member of a team to sign up. We’ll make sure to get you on one!

3. I don’t have a team. Now what?

It is not necessary to be a part of a team entering the HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge. At the beginning of the event, we will have a team-building exercise in which you can identify the best “fit” for your interests and skills. You also can choose to work independently - but hackathon participants say half the fun is the collaboration and creativity that occurs within a team dynamic.

4. Where will it take place?

The HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge will take place at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, located at 800 Hudson Way, Huntsville, AL 35806. Participants will have access to several large workspaces on the first floor of the institute.

5. Why are you hosting this event?

Good science comes from a combination of a solid background of knowledge, a creative idea, and the ability to work with data. Increasingly, science problems are being solved through the application and manipulation of big data. The HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge is a great opportunity to introduce the coding community – and students – to genomics, genetics and the future of biotechnology.

6. Does it cost money?

We are charging $10/person to participate. This covers all food and beverages, a T-shirt, swag, and other fun stuff.

7. What is genomics and biotech?

At it’s core, biotechnology uses biological processes (organisms, proteins, enzymes, genes) to create or enhance products that impact life. Modern biotechnology is powered by our understanding of DNA: specifically how genetic instructions create the building blocks of life and that changes in those DNA instructions alter physical characteristics associated with human health, agriculturally important plants and livestock and bio-based sources of energy. Today’s technologies generate enormous amounts of genetic information, requiring new tools to organize, analyze and visualize this data.

8. What if I don’t know anything about biotech and genetics, or writing code? Can I still come?

Absolutely! Learning is a big component of the HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge. We will offer workshops on the science to get you up to speed. Also, mentors will be available on and off throughout the two days to offer advice and answer your questions. The challenges will require a variety of skillsets, so if writing code isn’t one of them, don’t worry.

9. Do you offer travel stipends?

Unfortunately, we are not able to offer travel stipends at this time.

10. Where do I sleep?

Coming from out of town and need a place to crash? HATCH has a block of rooms at the nearby Drury Inn & Suites at $109/night. Call 256-430-9888 or click here to secure your room!

11. Who will be there?

Students, professionals, scientists, software developers and more.

13. Will the media be there?

We are providing several windows for media to cover the event. HudsonAlpha and Urban Engine staff will be publicizing the Tech Challenge through social media channels. Additionally, HudsonAlpha communications staff and Urban Engine staff will be taking photos and video to document the event. Participants will be required to sign a release form. Minors will need the signature of a parent.

14. What is Urban Engine?

Urban Engine, formerly New Leaf Digital, propels the growth of North Alabama’s economy and accelerates STEAM innovation by connecting aspiring entrepreneurs and established business leadership to educational resources, talent, and community. Urban Engine is the Huntsville-based nonprofit organization that facilitates CoWorking Night, 32/10, community hackathons and

15. What can I win?

Prizes to be announced!

16. I still have a question. Who can I contact?

Please email:

We hope to see you at our 2020 Tech Challenge.
2020 HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge

HudsonAlpha wants to inspire creativity through collaboration, and energize the current and next generation of problem-solvers to conceive and construct innovative solutions to biotech challenges.

Follow us

Find us on social networks

2020 HudsonAlpha - All Rights Reserved