“Hacking health” in Zurich, this weekend I attended a health" in Zurich. I attended a hackathon focused on innovation in the health care sector. Getting outside Munich for reasons other than mountaineering or tourism, what a concept! The event opened me up to exploring the wonderful city if Zurich with friends, go to my first European hackathon, and learning a bit of Go lang.
Zurich, similar to Munich, feels like a really big village. The focus on art was inspiring with universities, museums, and art galleries around every corner. Compared to the cold rainy weekends we’ve recently had in Munich enjoying a Radler on the Zürichsee in balmy weather was perfect. I’m considering going back this winter when ski season starts, but I know my wallet will hurt. Luckily the hackathon was free and provided food.
The hackathon was put on by Sciana organization with a focus on health care. I’ve been to hackathons in the past where developers/nerds got together and made cool stuff and presented it but this was different. It was much more come up with a valid business plan for the medical-industrial complex and less about making things and having fun. What was nice was getting access to physiatrists and mental health patients who were great resources to our ideas. We ended up creating a chatbot together with a pitch/business plan.
Keeping with my tradition of trying out new programming languages at hackathons the chatbot was written in Golang. The biggest new language concept was pointers. As I’v not coming from a comp sci background this was my first time using pointers. They seem be useful when dealing with large objects in memory but for me are best treated just as another type of data and passed around in a functional way. Golang supports pretty decent functional programming with higher-order functions and closures. Next time I get a chance I’d like to expand into using go routines and utilizing Go lang’s concurrency powers.a