The 2014 INFO399 Research Methods Hackathon

Begins: 5:15 pm, Thursday 9 October 2014
Final presentations: 4 pm, Thursday 16 October 2014


Hackathon Essentials
Hackathon Schedule of Meetings [see below]
FAQ [see below]


(all data described in the Hackathon Essentials PDF above; e-mail us with questions in case of difficulty) [full text of State of the Union addresses, 1793—2014;
see also] [edited version of the GDELT database; see also]

UPDATED Afghanistan data, with multiple provinces, and KIA data is at
Each file is a province, and an event "type"; each line in each file is a day, with different categories of events of that type.
These new files will allow you to investigate (among other things), seasonal effects, correlations between different parts of the country (different provinces), and event severity (e.g., number KIA / number of events per day).
OLDER: [edited version of the Wikileaks / Afghan War Diary; see also]

Twitter Follower Data from STRICT Social Lab [raw data at]

Hackathon Groups

The Effect of the Civil War on Presidential Speech Patterns and the North-South Divide
Ying Ying "Mia" Cho, Alexander Sereno, Alec Greene
a.k.a., The Screaming Eagles

Global education spending and student achievement
Noah Connor, Alexander Montgomery, Craig Devaney
a.k.a., The Bulletproof Monks

Medevacs and the Shifting Strategic Landscape of the Afghanistan War
Michael Mahlman, Ryan Gullion, Nicholas Call, Brett Magnus

Blockbusters, Profits, and Awards in American Moviemaking
Austin Cushenberry, Stephen Ulerich

The formation and decay of relationships on Twitter (2009—2013)
Madeline Bowling, Mariah Gilliatt, Gershwin Marks

The Effect of the Seasons on the War in Afghanistan
Emad Abdelatif, Mark Murphy, Steven Rice

Riots, Protests, and the Global Food Index (2005—2010)
Andrew Lange, Steven Lawyer, Austin Whitton


Meeting One

Brainstorm. What’s cool about the data? What’s interesting to look at?
Key techniques: listen; be explicit with each other; make agreements.
Attempt something you planned in meeting one.
Key technique: fake it. Do something, anything, rather than do nothing.

Meeting Two

Regroup. Did anything work? Can you help each other? What needs to be done to keep on track? Do you have to try a totally different idea?
Key techniques: listen; accept advice; learn.
Follow on plans from meeting two.
Key technique: learn from last time. What worked? What didn’t work? Do something different.

[next Tuesday class, 14th October, in Ballantine 340]—all groups attend; Alexander & Simon debug & discuss.

Meeting Three

Final steps. What did you find? Who will present? What will they say?
Key techniques: listen; integrate. Is the whole greater than the sum of the parts?
Practice! GIve the presenter[s] figures, thoughts, &c.—anything they need.

[next Thursday class, 16th October, in Ballantine 340]—hackathon end; final presentations; 10 minutes each.


Question: Do we have to do X?
Answer: Unless X is one of the four things on the list of Hackathon Essentials, the answer is “no”.

Question: Can we do X?
Answer: Unless not doing X is one of the four things on the list of Hackathon Essentials, the answer is “yes”.

Question: Should we try to do something cool?
Answer: Yes.

Question: We want more data!
Answer: I know, right? E-mail us (sooner rather than later) and we’ll see what we can do.

Pasted Graphic
Answer: Yes. There will be doughnuts.