Optional hack-a-thon on Saturday 18 January 2020, Berlin

Dear Community,

we, as the organizers of the upcoming OpenMod in Jan '20 were discussing about organizing an optional hack-a-thon session on Sat, 18/1/20 as a perfect hands-on extension to the OpenMod itself. One option we have in mind as a great outcome would be a community contribution to support climate action with the help of the tools/data we have. In Germany there is a grass-roots organization that’s currently drafting a concrete bottom-up climate action plan (see https://gerechte1komma5.de ). Our rough idea so far, was to try to contribute some numbers to the proposed measures elaborated in the plan. So far, we are getting in touch and determine the possibilities. As soon, as there we have more information, you will find them in this forum thread. What do you think?

However, organizing a seperate hack-a-thon session (which we would really like doing) while also organizing the OpenMod (which we also really like doing), at the same time, is an intensive workload. Therefore, we would really appreciate your contribution (ideas, organizational capacities, feedback)!

Please use this thread or contact us via mail or mailing list!

Sarah, Anselm, Jens


I guess there are quite a few issues to explore and resolve. My understanding of a hackathon is that participants familiar with the project in question — or at least the domain and the tooling — come together in one place to rapidly hack solutions. That is unlikely to be the case here, I suspect. So I rather envisage this more as some kind of hands‑on two‑way learning process between model researchers and potential model users. We need to think therefore about objectives, skill levels, and expectations and then the program of events. Some further thoughts for consideration:

  • it would be useful to invite a range of community groups — I have an extensive circulation list from the earlier openmod/NGO bridge exercise that I can invoke, once we have made some progress on specifics
  • there may be a need for some kind of introduction to the art of energy modeling — as well as short presentations from users on their requirements and expectations
  • we need to decide whether jupyter notebooks might be useful — and perhaps we should consider pairing modelers with users because I don’t think we can generally expect participants to be familiar with these tools
  • hackathons are sometimes competitive, but that aspect should not apply here
  • the question of which model framework or frameworks needs addressing based on requirements and not proximity — meaning that organizers should not needlessly prioritize their own tools

Not directly related to this hackathon, but I have also been pushing the idea that citizens’ assemblies should be supported by open analysis — using open energy system modeling in the case of future energy systems. There may be some overlap here with that theme?

This event might also be a suitable venue to talk about forming an open analysis community along the lines shown in recent poster of mine (Morrison 2019). That community could then act as a bridge between energy system researchers and client civil society organizations (some may recall that the original proposal was aimed at large NGOs but they were not especially interested). One (not entirely hypothetical) example might be an environmental law NGO that needs independent analysis on a regional coal phase‑out to support their litigation on air quality.

Maybe we should consider forming a subgroup for this organizing this particular event? We could even do that on this platform by creating a private category — simply to avoid spamming this site rather than to operate in secret, that is. Reactions?


Morrison, Robbie (30 September 2019). An online community for open energy analysis: improving trust, legitimacy, and participation — Release 02 — Poster. Poster for EMP-E 2019 meeting, Brussels, Belgium. Open access.

2019-morrison-online-community-for-open-energy-analysis-release-02-emp-e-poster.pdf (39.7 KB)

The Berlin workshop organizers decided to cancel this event for logistical reasons on 12 November 2019.

A separate event on the same Saturday 18 January 2020 is now in planning. Known as the energy bridge meeting, more details are available under this forum topic.