BioHackathon Europe 2021 project call open — an invite to industry

Do you have a bioinformatics project just waiting to be kick-started? Do you need specific expertise to fine-tune or diversify your newest tool or pipeline? Now is the time to submit your project ideas for BioHackathon Europe 2021.

The BioHackathon Europe event provides the ultimate source of willing experts to help initiate or drive a project forward. Most participants at previous BioHackathon events indicated that it would take a single person between a month and over a year to accomplish what their team could do during a week at the BioHackathon-Europe.

Read on to find out more about the event, and testimonials from industry and academic participants.

Industry involvement in the first virtual BioHackathon Europe 2020

Last year was an unusual year, to say the least. The year 2020 has forced us all to reflect on how we can collaborate virtually in times where face-to-face interactions are not possible. This posed a particular challenge for the ELIXIR BioHackathon, an event that, under normal circumstances, brings together around 150 bioinformaticians to work collaboratively on hacking projects for a full week. Our first virtual iteration of the event in 2020 drew over 300 people, working collaboratively across multiple time zones on 40 different projects with themes in pandemic preparedness, biodiversity and more. Maintaining the collaborative spirit is central to the virtual BioHackathon. We were pleased to see from the feedback survey that participants thought productivity was just as high as in previous years.  

Graph showing how long people estimated it would have taken a single person will all the skills needed to achieve what was completed during the BiohHacakthon Eiurope 2020

Last year also presented a company debut: Atos-Bull made their BullSequana Edge capabilities available for the duration of the hackathon to prove that traditional data centres and edge computing are the perfect blend to provide powerful analytics and machine learning inference capabilities. 

Natalia Jiménez Lozano, Director of Atos HPC, was pleased with the event dynamics. 'It was an amazing experience, very interactive and felt very close to a real-life event. Two teams embraced our challenge to demonstrate the validity of edge computing. We reached our goal of connecting with the bioinformatics community and creating awareness for new technology. No doubt we would participate in the future.' This sentiment was echoed by an attendee, Jose Maria Fernandez, working on the project “It was very interesting to try this new technology an get a glimpse of what is on the horizon.”

Further, a team of experts (Anastasis Togkousidis, Nikos Pechlivanis, Fotis E. Psomopoulos), representing the BioData Analysis Group at INAB|CERTH, used the offered resources to evaluate the performance and overall suitability of ATOS Edge in the context of k-mer-based models of sequence data, towards facilitating the application of Machine Learning methods. Anastasis spoke for the team; ‘Our experience using ATOS Edge was very positive. At a practical level, data processing and computing are completely separated, bringing the data processing level closer to the user. In this way, there is no need to constantly upload and download big data to the computing element.’

Get involved

If you are interested in hearing more about the BioHackathon, or other industry-related activities from ELIXIR, our quarterly industry newsletter is your place to go.

Read the ELIXIR BioHackathon 2020 news release for project highlights, testimonials and further information about the virtual event held previously. 

For questions reach out to Kathi Lauer katharina.lauer [at]

Mon 1 March 2021