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Technology 3 May 2018

Hackathon at Africa Internet Summit Focuses on Time, Vehicular Communications, and Network Programmability

Kevin Chege
By Kevin ChegeDirector, Internet Development

We are pleased to announce the 2nd [email protected] will be held in Dakar, Senegal, on 9-10 May, alongside the Africa Internet Summit. Live streaming will be available. Participants from 14 countries have confirmed their participation and will work on activities centered around three main topics:

  • The Network Time Protocol (or NTP)
  • Wireless communication in vehicular environments – based on Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Network Programmability

Working on open Internet standards involves a collaborative effort whereby individuals from different backgrounds provide input and expertise to improve the Internet. Work is focused on common objectives with set timelines. This work is mostly done by people in different geographical locations using the Internet (and online tools) to collaborate on the work. In some cases, short technical events called hackathons place experts in one physical location to work collaboratively to solve a problem or develop a new product or output in a short period of time.

Last year, the Internet Society’s African Regional Bureau, together with AFRINIC, organized a hackathon in Kenya, during the 2017 Africa Internet Summit. In Africa, work on open Internet standards development is low, with only a handful of Request For Comments (RFCs) known to have been published by experts from the region. One of the main objectives of the hackathon is to encourage engineers from the region to learn and take part in the open standards development as is done at the IETF among other open standards bodies. The event last year attracted 38 participants from 12 different African countries.

Building on the success of last year’s event, this year 278 participants applied to participate from across Africa. In fact, so many participants applied that not all will be able to participate in person due to venue limitations. Remote participation will be provided to allow interested individuals to participate remotely.

Different experts will be on hand to guide the Hackathon topics including Loganaden Velvindron who currently works at AFRINIC, as a member of the IT and Engineering team. Outside of working hours, Logan has led a few hackathons with the http://hackers.mu team, where engineers and students in Mauritius work together to make the Internet work better. Loganaden will lead the Network Time Protocol track.

Nabil Benamar, who is an Associate Professor of Computer Networks based in Morocco will lead the track focusing on wireless communication in vehicular environments. Nabil is an IPv6 expert (he.net certified) and IPv6 trainer with many international organizations (RIPE/MENOG, AFRINIC, and Agence Universitaire de Francophonie). Nabil is an author of several journal papers and IETF Internet Drafts and is currently working on Intelligent Transportations Systems. He is a co-author on an IETF draft on wireless communication in vehicular environments.

Charles Eckel is a developer evangelist with a passion for open source and standards. He runs DevNet’s Open Source Dev Center (https://developer.cisco.com/site/opensource/), which focuses on Cisco’s major open source contributions, use, and community engagements. He introduced open source hackathons at the IETF (https://www.ietf.org/how/runningcode/hackathons/) and MEF (http://www.mef.net/community-industry/lso-hackathon), revolutionizing the way these SDOs operate and uniting open source software with standards to maximize the pace and relevance of both. Charles will be leading the Network Programmability Track at the Hackathon.

The hackathon will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Dakar which is also the venue hotel for the Africa Internet Summit. The event’s web page can be found here:


Live streaming will be available here:


We’re looking forward to this Hackathon, and if you are interested in participating in person or remotely, please join the event forum here for instructions on how you can participate.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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