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Q: When is this year’s AGCO Hackathon?

A: The 24-hour event will begin the afternoon of Jan. 31 and wraps up the next day.

Farm-equipment manufacturer AGCO is running the event, which will be held at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

The hackathon is seeking high-tech solutions to three different food-supply issues.

1. Prevent and reduce breakdowns in crop and livestock equipment.

2. Develop programs that will replace human labor with automated controls and help less-skilled laborers optimize their use of equipment.

3. Identify environmental factors that are critical to sustainability producing the world’s food.

“We’ll provide the data sets for those challenges,” said Misha Shah, the site manager for the AGCO Acceleration Center at the Research Park. “They need to come up with a solution.”

This is the second Agco Hackathon; last year’s drew about 80 participants, she said.

“It was a great success,” said Shah, who expects a similar number this year.

Teams can be up to four people.

“They can come prepared with their teams,” Shah said. “Or you can just register for yourself, and we’ll help match you up.”

They’ll work through the evening at NCSA, but then have to find somewhere else to work from midnight to 6 a.m. when the building is closed.

“They can break away in their own groups and go to houses, libraries, wherever,” Shah said.

The event wraps up Feb. 1 with presentations of the different solutions that are developed.

The best ideas then will be given prizes, which include Nintendo Switches, Bose headphones and iPads.

Participants can register at

They’ll get to keep their intellectual property, Shah said, but they’ll have to sign a confidentiality agreement to work with AGCO’s data sets.