Advancing Rice Research through Tech and Innovation

August 30 – September 1, 2019
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna

What is Hack4Rice?

Same mission. New innovations.
Driven by IRRI's unchanging mission to reduce poverty and hunger, improve rice farmers' and consumers' health, and ensure an environmentally sustainable rice production, Hack4Rice aims to give people of diverse backgrounds the power of community to bring out innovations that can only happen when people from all kinds of places strive together towards a unified goal. So, we want to invite you to join us in this journey to bring your ideas into fruition and turn those projects into viable products, Hack4Rice welcomes anyone who wants to make an impact by collaborating together on tech projects for rice research.

Why join Hack4Rice?



Hack4Rice will open doors for a global network where you can connect with different developers, innovators, and industry leaders from different fields from all over the world. This will be both a good way to grow your professional network and show off your talent to prospective clients and/or employers.



If you are purpose-driven and are looking for opportunities to invest your skills, gifts, and expertise in your respective field and serve others through tech, Hack4Rice is the right place for you to collectively make a difference with other fellows, particularly in rice research and its constituents.



Hack4Rice is a great avenue to work with people of diverse backgrounds for a more collaborative and holistic experience, which makes the hackathon projects better-rounded.



Nothing else is more empowering and refreshing than when people who share the same passion for tech come together to pitch and brainstorm ideas and commit to producing excellent work that brings tangible results. Being surrounded with a talented community would inspire you to become better at what you do, let you get out of your comfort zone and learn more, and help you grow your ideas.


Rice research has its unique set of pains to be alleviated and needs to be fulfilled. We want participants in Hack4Rice to address real-pain points that constituents and beneficiaries of rice research face.These challenges should be the basis when building and designing your solution. 

Agriculture for Millennials and Beyond

With the increasing average age of farmers in the Philippines, it won’t be long before we start experiencing shortage. Even now, there are reports that it has become increasingly difficult to hire people to help during the planting/harvest period. Now, the question we need to answer is not “Where did they go?” but “How can we encourage the younger generation to invest in agriculture?”

Blockchain for Rice Research

Blockchain technology has created quite a buzz recently especially in terms of financial technologies. While it has a lot of potential uses, it brings along potential challenges as well. However, the technology is there and has become more mature throughout the years. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) published an article on this topic. The bottom line is that there is a huge potential in leveraging blockchain technology in improving rice research from easier tracking of seeds to data availability and so much more.

Making Data Ours Again

In a world where data storage is getting cheaper, data sources increasing, and data volume multiplying, one can easily fail to take advantage of the treasure trove we are sitting on. Keeping in mind the Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability (FAIR) Principles for data, what solutions can you help build that make it easier for researchers to make use of the available data? Data mining applications? Data visualization applications? Automated data processing tools?

Human-Centric Innovations for Our Rice Farmers

Technology is meant to improve lives. With hundreds of possible pain points involving rice farming, how can we leverage technology to help our rice farmers enjoy the benefits of technology with minimal or no cost to them? What products can we build to provide us a fighting chance at food security by enriching the lives of our farmers?

Phenotype Prediction Challenge

Build a machine learning model to predict the value of a certain numeric phenotypes given a high-dimensional genotype information,
You will be given a training dataset consisting of numerically encoded genotype data for genetically distinct rice varieties, along with records of certain agronomically important traits for the same varieties (such as grain yield, plant height, days to flowering). Your goal is to implement a model that would predict the values of these phenotypes given genotype data of an unseen rice sample. (It can be a single model for all traits or one model for each trait. You may use any programming language or ML framework. We will also provide a baseline model against which you can test your model. Once your model(s) is ready for submission, you will need to run it on the test dataset which we will provide. Submitted models will be evaluated using metrics such as mean absolute error and the r-squared score. For each phenotype, we will compare your model with a baseline linear model and the models of other participants.

Laser Leveling Surveying Device

The device should measure the change in elevation as it moves around the field and should be able to log that information and send it to the cloud when necessary. The device should be able to calculate the mean elevation and pinpoint the exact geolocation where the bucket should be set. Other information that it should be able to measure are the following: mean difference in elevation, amount of soil to be moved, length of operation, and a grid/topo map.


Michelle Lagare
Joie Cruz
Keb Cuevas
John Garrity

Technology Partner

Partners/Community Leads


No. The event is free of charge. However, we still encourage you to bring pocket money for food and emergency expenses.

The hackathon isn’t solely focused on coding and developing. There will be workshops and a briefing about the challenge you opted for. There will also be mentors and experts at the venue as well to help you.

If you're participating on-site, please make sure to arrive before 3:00 P.M on August 30, 2019.

Each team should have 2 to 4 members. At the end of the hackathon, you are expected to deliver a concept description and a mockup or a demo. Since this is not limited to developers but open to ALL, make sure your team reflects the right mix and amount of people that can pull this off.

Simply go to our Eventbrite page to register your team. Only one member should enlist all other team members on their behalf.

If you really want to join the hackathon but cannot find team members, please send us an email at hack4rice2019@irri.org and we'll help you.

Relevance to the challenge (25%)
Does the solution solve a challenge as defined by its stakeholders?

Impact (25%)
How likely is it to see broad adoption and/or affect many users or institutions?

Flexibility of your solution (25%)
Is it possible to adjust your solution according to the needs of the stakeholders?

Usability and Experience (25%)
How easy to use is your solution for the end-user? How appealing is it to them?

Hack4Rice 2019 is considered an open hackathon. Hence, all outputs will be considered open-source.

Yes! We will provide dorm-type accommodations which you can reserve during your registration.

Yes. You hack, we fuel.

Contact Us    

Any inquiries or concerns? You may reach us at hack4rice2019@irri.org and let us know how we can help you.