Hack4Space 2021 – IBM Z & DePaul Center for Data Science


Even if you have never participated in a hackathon or even think that hackathons are not for you…now is your time to learn that hackathons are a great way to test your entrepreneurial spirit; collaborate with data scientists and other technologists.

Hack4Space a global virtual hackathon

Build your skills and help make a difference

Strut your non-technical skills like product management, project management, marketing, and business leadership to solve wicked problems in a practical way that also make the world a better place. IBM Z and the DePaul Center for Data Science bring to you Hack4Space, a hackathon geared toward leveraging space data to solve a problem your team identifies using space data. We will provide training, systems access, and help you identify a team if you haven’t established one before the deadline. Expect to learn more about Design Thinking, a free cloud solution from IBM Z that’s open to all students from across the globe, data science, space technology, and pitching like a pro in a half-day virtual training (also free). Expect to leave inspired by your fellow classmates and experts from IBM focused on startup acceleration, space technology, data science, cloud computing, and much more.

Dates for the Hack4Space


Award Ceremony

The Hack4Space Awards Ceremony will be on May 27 from 4PM – 5:30 PM.

Keynote speakers will include:
– Kevin Murphy, Chief Data Scientist from NASA
– Michaela Musilova, Director of HI-SEAS, International Moonbase Alliance (IMA)
– Naeem Altaf, Distinguished Engineer, CTO – Space Tech from IBM
– Melissa Sass, Chief Penguin, IBM Z, Student & Entrepreneur Experience

Subscribe to IBM Expert TV at https://ibm.biz/experttv, then tune in and watch the live or on-demand episode: https://techtv.bemyapp.com/#/conference/60958224fb4332001b8e6065


Agenda for the Hackathon:

7th May 2021

2:00 pm to 2:30 pm Welcome & Logistics – Dr. Ilyas Ustun, DePaul University & Melissa Sassi –  Chief Penguin, Entrepreneur & Student Experience at IBM, IBM Z
2:30 pm to 2:45 pm NASA Space Data Use Cases with NASA – David Meza – Senior System Engineer – Motorola Solutions
2:45 pm to 3:00 pm NASA Space Data Use Cases with NASA – Kevin Murphy –  Chief Science Data Officer for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and Program Executive to the NASA Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) program
3:00 pm to 3:15 pm NASA Space Data Use Cases with IBM – Raghu Kiran Ganti – Principal Research Staff Member at IBM
3:15-3:30 break
3:30 pm to 4:30 pm Machine Learning on IBM Z – Alex Osadchyy – Sr. Technical Solutions Architect at IBM
4:30 pm to 4:45 pm NASA Space Data Use Cases with IBM – Colin Alstad – Senior Data Scientist at IBM
4:45 pm to 5:00 pm break
5:00 pm to 5:15 pm Space Data Use Cases with Institute of Space Commerce & Geeks without Frontiers – Michael Potter – founder of the Geeks Without Frontiers.
5:15 pm to 5:45 pm Space Data Use Cases with Hypercubes – Fabio Teixeira – Chief Terraform Officer at Hypercubes
5:45 pm to 6:15 pm Enterprise Computing with IBM – Melissa Sassi, Chief Penguin, Entrepreneur & Student Experience at IBM, IBM Z
6:15 pm to 6:45 pm Pitching Like a Pro with IBM– Melissa Sassi, Chief Penguin, Entrepreneur & Student Experience at IBM, IBM Z
6:45 pm to 7:00 pm Day 1 closing

Teams start working on the project

click here to learn more about the speakers’ professional accomplishments and contributions



Who are the participants?

DePaul students, alumni and their friends are invited to participate in this exciting hackathon. Participants will work in teams of 4-6 people. You don’t need to be a developer and/or data scientist to participate in this hackathon, teams also need entrepreneurs, project managers, scientists, creative designers, etc…
We will allow up to 25 teams to participate in the immersive learning and hackathon journey. So register early! You can register with your team if you already have one. If you don’t have a team, that’s not a problem. You can register as an individual and you will be able to form a team on the day of the hackathon.


You don’t need to be a developer and/or data scientist to participate in this hackathon, teams also need entrepreneurs, project managers, creative designers, scientists, and artists!

Challenge Theme

Teams must leverage earth or space science data to identify a problem and propose a solution  using data.

The NASA Science Data Overview page provides inspiration for your project. Here some themes you can explore:

  • Earth’s climate change and the impact on the environment
  • The effect of the Sun on Earth and its impact on the rest of the solar system
  • Using space data to learn about biological and physical systems on Earth.
  • Is there life on other planets?

The NASA ‘s Science Data Archives page includes a comprehensive list of Space and Earth science datasets that you can use for your project:


The top team will present their project and will have a chance to win mentorship sessions with employees from IBM Z and NASA. The winners will be announced at the Hack4Space Awards Ceremony on May 27th, 2021 at 4-5:30pm.

Sharing on social media

Don’t forget to join the IBM Z Global Student Hub at http://ibm.biz/student-hub and post that you are participating in Hack4Space. Below is a social media asset you can use; however, feel free to create something yourself that talks about why you are passionate about data science and participating in hackathons. Do not forget to tag IBM Z, DePaul, @_ilyas_ustun_ and @mentorafrika in Twitter (DePaul, Ilyas Ustun and Melissa Sassi in LinkedIn) to help get the content elevated. You can use the #Hack4Space in your social media posts.

Submission Instructions

Final submissions must include the following:

  • a link to a video presentation (max 5 minute long) with a “demo” of your project. 
  • a 500 word problem statement describing the challenge, the solution, and why it is important
  • a link to source code/technical documentation on github or other public repository.

Please note: all links must be public and working properly. (They should not require permission or registration for our judges to access them.)

Scoring Rubric

Your submission will be scored based on the following criteria:

  • Problem Statement: the problem statement was clearly identified and evidence clearly supports the problem statement.
  • Relevance: the problem statement and solution are relevant and very well executed – you used space data and are solving a problem involving space data.
  • Audience / Target Market: you have clearly defined who is facing the problem and who will utilize your solution – bonus point for having an early advocate.
  • Solution Quality: you have created a solution using data science fundamentals that has been executed in an excellent fashion.
  • Feasibility: Your solution is feasible and has been integrated into the data you have elected to use that solves the problem you have identified.
  • Team Credibility / X-Factor: you have an excellent and well-rounded, diverse, and inclusive team and your presentation inspires the judges.
  • LinuxONE Community Cloud Utilization: you received training from IBM Z on the LinuxONE Community Cloud on May 7. If you elect to use the LinuxONE Community Cloud in your solution, you will be awarded a bonus point during judging. It’s not mandated; however, you can decide if you want to take advantage of the opportunity to gain a bonus point!

Issue escalation

If you have any questions, please reach out to us. Do not be shy!
Ask any questions, and no question is dumb or silly. If you need to escalate any immediate issues, please use the Hack4Space Slack channel.

If you have any questions feel free to email us at dsc@depaul.edu