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What is a hackathon?

In the context of ImageJ, a hackathon is a coding spree, or if you want, a one or two-week brainstorm session where scientists with programming skills sit together and work in a low-distraction, high-energy environment to advance the software side of their research. Typically, results get accomplished much faster (read: days instead of weeks or months) than without hackathons, because the setting is ideal to discuss advanced ideas with similar-thinking scientists and ideas can sprout much faster. Sometimes, results are achieved that would not have been possible without a hackathon at all.


First and foremost, hackathons are fun. The participants like what they are working on, and rarely have the same opportunities to talk to and inspire each other about their ongoing research.

Also, hackathons are the perfect excuse to concentrate on a particular subject without distractions. A lot gets done at a hackathon (see right!).

Origin of the term hackathon

The term comes from the original meaning of hack, i.e. a clever and unforeseen way to use or improve a technical system.

It is not clear whether Sun’s marketing team or OpenBSD were first, combining the words hack and marathon to form hackathon.

Ever since, OpenBSD held annual hackathons during which OpenBSD was improved in leaps and bounds.

In 2007, the first hackathon revolving around neuro-science was taking place at HHMI Janelia Research Campus. In a sense, it can be seen as the first Fiji hackathon, since Fiji was born in the wake of that hackathon, and probably would not have happened without it.

ImageJ hackathons

ImageJ has benefitted from many hackathons over the years:





2007 Summer

HHMI Janelia
Ashburn, VA, USA

Albert Cardona, Benjamin Schmid, Gregory Jefferis...Hanchuan Peng, Johannes Schindelin, Stephan Preibisch, Stephan Saalfeld, Wayne Rasband, Arnim Jenett, Julie Simpson, Torsten Rohlfing, Yuriy Mishchenko


2008 Apr 21 -
2008 Apr 30

Dresden, Germany

Albert Cardona, Benjamin Schmid, Cornelius Sicker...Daniel James White, Erwin Frise, Jean-Yves Tinevez, Johannes Schindelin, Mark Hiner, Stephan Preibisch, Stephan Saalfeld, Pavel Tomancak


2008 Dec 8 -
2008 Dec 13

Zürich, Switzerland



2009 Mar 23 -
2009 Apr 03

Dresden, Germany

Johannes Schindelin, Albert Cardona, Jean-Yves Tinevez...Benjamin Schmid, Ignacio Arganda-Carreras, Daniel James White, Mark Hiner, Pavel Tomancak, Stephan Preibisch, Stephan Saalfeld, Raju Tomer, Misha Kudryashev


2010 Mar 14 -
2010 Mar 27

Heidelberg, Germany

Albert Cardona, Stephan Saalfeld, Benjamin Schmid...Kota Miura, Curtis Rueden, Johannes Schindelin, Ignacio Arganda-Carreras, Larry Lindsey, Mark Hiner, Stephan Preibisch, Grant Harris, Verena Kaynig-Fittkau


2010 Oct 12 -
2010 Oct 23

Berkeley CA, USA

Erwin Frise, Johannes Schindelin

Running Micro-Manager inside Fiji

2011 Jan 27 -
2011 Feb 13

Madison, WI, USA

Ignacio Arganda-Carreras, Paul Barber, Albert Cardona...Barry DeZonia, Arthur Edelstein, Adam Fraser, Erwin Frise, Aivar Grislis, Grant Harris, Mark Hiner, Luis Ibanez, Lee Kamentsky, Larry Lindsey, Melissa Linkert, Mark Hiner, Tobias Pietzsch, Stephan Preibisch, Curtis Rueden, Stephan Saalfeld, Johannes Schindelin, Benjamin Schmid, Pavel Tomancak, Kevin Eliceiri, Rick Lentz, Mark Rowley

Multidimensional visualization

2011 Dec 9 -
2011 Dec 19

Dresden, Germany

Jean-Marie Burel, Stephane Dallongeville, Barry DeZonia...Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Michael Doube, Fabrice de Chaumont, Erwin Frise, Martin Horn, Daniel James White, Tom Kazimiers, Alexander Krull, Melissa Linkert, Mark Hiner, Josh Moore, Tobias Pietzsch, Stephan Preibisch, Curtis Rueden, Johannes Schindelin, Benjamin Schmid, Pavel Tomancak, Peter Gabriel Pitrone, Kevin Eliceiri, Fernando Carrilo, Jiri Matas, Jurgen Mayer


2012 Oct

Universität Konstanz
Konstanz, Germany

Martin Horn, Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Tobias Pietzsch...Johannes Schindelin


2013 Jan 22 -
2013 Jan 25

Madison, WI, USA

Matt McCormick, Curtis Rueden, Johannes Schindelin...Mark Hiner

SCIFIO ImageIO plugin

2013 apr 14 -
2013 Apr 18

Madison, WI, USA

Ignacio Arganda-Carreras, Johannes Schindelin, Curtis Rueden

Trainable Weka Segmentation

2013 Apr 27 -
2013 May 3

Madison, WI, USA

Stephan Preibisch, Tobias Pietzsch, Curtis Rueden...Johannes Schindelin, Barry DeZonia, Mark Hiner, Aivar Grislis


2013 Sep 9 -
2013 Sep 13

Institut Pasteur
Paris France

Tobias Pietzsch, Jean-Yves Tinevez

MaMuT, BigDataViewer

2013 Nov 14 -
2013 Nov 27

Madison, WI, USA

Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Johannes Schindelin, Curtis Rueden


2014 Mar 4 -
2014 Mar 13

Universität Konstanz
Konstanz, Germany

Curtis Rueden, Johannes Schindelin, Christian Birkhold (Dietz)...Martin Horn

ImageJ Ops |- valign="top" |

2014 Mar 20 -
2014 Mar 21

Madison, WI, USA

Jean-Marie Burel, Peter Walczysko, Curtis Rueden


2014 Jul 7 -
2014 Jul 10

Madison, WI, USA

Mark Tsuchida, Chris Weisiger, Johannes Schindelin...Luke Stuyvenberg, Curtis Rueden, Mark Hiner

Micro-Manager and OpenSPIM

2014 Sep 14 -
2014 Sep 18

Madison, WI, USA

Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Brian Northan, Mark Hiner...Curtis Rueden, Aparna Pal, Yuming Liu, Alison Walter, Ginger Pocock

ImageJ Ops + KNIME

2014 Oct 13 -
2014 Oct 17

Madison, WI, USA

Tobias Pietzsch, Stephan Preibisch, Stephan Saalfeld...Johannes Schindelin, Curtis Rueden, Mark Hiner


2015 Jan 19 -
2015 Jan 27

Konstanz, Germany

Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Curtis Rueden, Mark Hiner...Lee Kamentsky, Tobias Pietzsch, Florian Jug, Johannes Schindelin, Ignacio Arganda-Carreras, Gabriel Einsdorf, Daniel Seebacher, Kevin Mader, Andreas Graumann, Jonathan Hale, Tim-Oliver Buchholz, Patrick Winter, Andreas Burger, Tobias Kötter

ImageJ Ops + KNIME + CellProfiler + more

2015 Apr 12 -
2015 Apr 17

HHMI Janelia
Ashburn, VA, USA

Stephan Preibisch, Tobias Pietzsch, Stephan Saalfeld...Pavel Tomancak

Multiview-Reconstruction and BigDataViewer

2015 June 29 -
2015 July 3

Berlin, Germany

Stephan Preibisch, Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Mario Emmenlauer...Stephan Janosch

Parallelization of Multiview-Reconstruction
and integration with ImageJ Ops & KNIME

2015 Jul 27 -
2015 Jul 31

HHMI Janelia
Ashburn, VA, USA

Stephan Saalfeld, Curtis Rueden, Mark Hiner...Tobias Pietzsch, Tom Kazimiers, Burkhard Höckendorf, Fernando Amat, Phillip Keller

SCIFIO performance and generality

2015 Sep 05 -
2015 Sep 15

Madison, WI, USA

Curtis Rueden, Mark Hiner, Christian Birkhold (Dietz)...Tobias Pietzsch, Stephan Saalfeld, Brian Northan, Florian Jug, Matt McCormick, Jay Warrick, Tiago A. Ferreira, Jan Brocher, Ellen TA Dobson, Alison Walter, Leon Yang, Yuming Liu, Guneet Singh Mehta, Marcel Austenfeld, Karl Bellve, Alex Rigano, Kota Miura, Mark Tsuchida, Chris Weisiger

ImageJ2 Learnathon + ImageJ Ops

2016 Jan 12 -
2016 Jan 22

KNIME Konstanz Regional Office
Konstanz, Germany

Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Curtis Rueden, Mark Hiner...Martin Horn, Tobias Pietzsch, Florian Jug, Loic Royer, Ulrik Günther, Robert Haase, Stefan Helfrich, Kevin Mader, Kyle Harrington, Jan Eglinger, Thomas Re, Tim-Oliver Buchholz, Jonathan Hale, Daniel Seebacher, Patrick Winter, Alexander Fillbrunn, Nico Hoffmann, Timo Sachsenberg, Julianus Pfeuffer, Temesgen H. Dadi

KNIME Image Processing

2016 Jun 19 -
2016 Jun 28

HHMI Janelia
Ashburn, VA, USA

Stephan Saalfeld, Tobias Pietzsch, Curtis Rueden...Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Kyle Harrington

Metadata rich images

2016 Jul 5 -
2016 Jul 14

KNIME Konstanz Regional Office
Konstanz, Germany

Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Patrick Winter, Tobias Pietzsch...Ulrik Günther, Curtis Rueden, Martin Horn, Stefan Helfrich, Kyle Harrington, Richard Domander, Kevin Mader, Andreas Burger, Marcel Wiedenmann, Simon Schmid, Joshy Cyriac, Jonathan Hale, Alexander Fillbrunn, Jan Eglinger, Tim-Oliver Buchholz, Stefano Woerner, Cyril Mongis, David Hörl, Nico Hoffmann

KNIME Image Processing + 3D viz

2016 Dec 6 -
2016 Dec 16

Dresden, Germany

Florian Jug, Tobias Pietzsch, Pavel Tomancak...Curtis Rueden, Stephan Saalfeld, Philipp Hanslovsky, Kyle Harrington, Richard Domander, Jean-Yves Tinevez, Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Patrick Winter, Ulrik Günther, Loic Royer, Robert Haase, HongKee Moon, Tim-Oliver Buchholz, Marcel Wiedenmann, David Hörl, Klim Kolyvanov, Matthias Arzt, Vladimír Ulman, Carsten Haubold, Jonas Massa

Fiji & KNIP

2017 Feb 21 -
2017 Feb 26

Madison, WI, USA

Tobias Pietzsch, Stephan Saalfeld, Christian Birkhold (Dietz)...Curtis Rueden, Alison Walter


2017 Jun 7 -
2017 Jun 14

Madison, WI, USA

Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Curtis Rueden

ImageJ Ops

2017 Sep 20 -
2017 Sep 29

KNIME Konstanz Regional Office
Konstanz, Germany

Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Matthias Arzt, Tim-Oliver Buchholz...Jan Eglinger, Gabriel Einsdorf, Alexander Fillbrunn, Jon Fuller, Jonathan Hale, Carsten Haubold, Stefan Helfrich, Martin Horn, Florian Jug, David Kolb, Klim Kolyvanov, Kevin Mader, Julianus Pfeuffer, Tobias Pietzsch, Mangal Prakash, Stephan Preibisch, Jonas Probst, René Rahn, Curtis Rueden, Simon Schmid, Deborah Schmidt, Vladimír Ulman, Marcel Wiedenmann, Benjamin Wilhelm, Patrick Winter

KNIME Image Processing, ImageJ Ops, Ilastik

2017 Oct 17 -
2017 Oct 18

UConn Health
Farmington, CT, USA

Jim Schaff, Curtis Rueden

Virtual Cell + ImageJ2

2017 Dec 4 -
2017 Dec 15

Dresden, Germany

Florian Jug, Tobias Pietzsch, Pavel Tomancak...Curtis Rueden, Philipp Hanslovsky, Kyle Harrington, Richard Domander, Jean-Yves Tinevez, Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Ulrik Günther, Loic Royer, Robert Haase, HongKee Moon, Tim-Oliver Buchholz, Marcel Wiedenmann, David Hörl, Klim Kolyvanov, Matthias Arzt, Vladimír Ulman, Carsten Haubold, Petr Bainar, Alison Walter

Fiji & KNIP

2018 Apr 22 -
2018 May 2

University of Idaho
Moscow, ID, USA

Kyle Harrington, Stephan Saalfeld, Christian Birkhold (Dietz)...Curtis Rueden, Matthias Arzt, Tobias Pietzsch, Loic Royer, Brian Northan, Ulrik Günther, Mark Tsuchida, Robert Wiese


2018 May 16 -
2018 May 18

San Francisco, CA, USA

Dan Toloudis (AICS), Dyche Mullins (UCSF), Lisa Harrylock (AICS)...Tom Goddard (UCSF), Molly Maleckar (AICS), Tom Ferrin (UCSF), Graham Johnson (AICS), Samuel Lord (UCSF/HHMI), Basu Chaudhuri (AICS), Ambrose Carr (CZI), Megan Riel-Megan (AICS), Jeremy Freeman (CZI), Dave Williams (AICS), Nicholas Sofroniew (CZI), Curtis Rueden, Arne Bakker (CZI), Syuan-Ming Guo (CZ Biohub), Andréa Clavijo (CZI), Deep Ganguli (CZI), Shalin Mehta (CZ Biohub), Tony Tung (CZI), Sarah Kefayati (CZ Biohub), Anitha Krishnan (CZ Biohub), Allen Goodman, Norah Klintberg (CZ Biohub), Eric Perlman (Johns Hopkins), Oana Carja (CZ Biohub) Benny Lin (U Texas Austin), Jeremy Maitlen-Shephard (Google)

Bioimage Analysis in JavaScript, Python + Java

2018 Oct 31 -
2018 Nov 06

Madison, WI, USA

Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Tobias Pietzsch, Mark Tsuchida...Curtis Rueden

ImgLib2, Micro-Manager

2018 Dec 09 -
2018 Dec 14

Dresden, Germany

Curtis Rueden, Carsten Haubold, Christian Birkhold (Dietz)...Gabriel Einsdorf, Benjamin Wilhelm, Marcel Wiedenmann, Matthias Arzt, Deborah Schmidt, Tobias Pietzsch, Ulrik Günther, Gabriella Turek


2019 Jan 17 -
2019 Jan 29

Ostrava, Czechia

Florian Jug, Tobias Pietzsch, Pavel Tomancak...Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Tim-Oliver Buchholz, Marcel Wiedenmann, Matthias Arzt, Vladimír Ulman, Petr Bainar, Alison Walter, Gabriel Einsdorf, David Kolb, Mangal Prakash, Deborah Schmidt, Benjamin Wilhelm, John Bogovic, Nicolas Chiaruttini, Jana Klímová, Jan Kožusznik, Michal Krumnikl, Manan Lalit, Emil Melnikov, Pavel Moravec, Václav Svatoň, Christian Tischer, Gabriella Turek, Tomas Vicar, Marwan Zouinkhi

Parallelization and HPC

2019 Sep 18 -
2019 Sep 24

KNIME Konstanz Regional Office
Konstanz, Germany

Michael Crusoe, Stefan Verhoeven, Curtis Rueden...Christian Birkhold (Dietz), Tobias Pietzsch, Marcel Wiedenmann, Daniel Bogenrieder, Deborah Schmidt, Benjamin Wilhelm, Adrian Nembach, Laurent Thomas, Kefang Ding, Christian Albrecht, Gabriel Einsdorf, David Kolb


2019 Dec 9 -
2019 Dec 18

CSB Dresden
Dresden, Germany

Philipp Hanslovsky, Curtis Rueden, Tobias Pietzsch...Ulrik Günther, Tim-Oliver Buchholz, Florian Jug, Matt McCormick, Stefan Helfrich, Robert Haase, Marcel Wiedenmann, Emil Melnikov, Wei Ouyang, Vladimír Ulman, Pavel Tomancak, Uwe Schmidt, Deborah Schmidt, Benjamin Wilhelm, Nicolas Chiaruttini, Mangal Prakash, Maksim Novikov, Christian Tischer, Manan Lalit, Bob Hanson, Adrian Wolny, Gabriella Turek, Tomas Vicar, David Ackerman, Lars Grüter, Mats Moskopp, Arrate Muñoz Barrutia


2021 Jun 1 -
2021 Aug 31

Online (Gather Town) organized by

Pavel Tomancak, Jan Kožusznik, Michal Krumnikl...Pavel Moravec, Vladimír Ulman, Dimitrios Stefanos Velissariou, Václav Svatoň, Christian Tischer, Tobias Pietzsch, Curtis Rueden, Jan Eglinger, Stephan Saalfeld, Deborah Schmidt, Wei Ouyang, John Bogovic, Mark Tsuchida, Jean-Yves Tinevez, Lee Kamentsky, Josh Moore, Jan Brocher, Sébastien Besson, Kyle Harrington, Alan Brooks, Jean-Marie Burel, Nils Norlin, Estibaliz Gomez de Mariscal

Wiki, Fiji

2022 Sep 5 -
2022 Sep 9

Prague, Czechia
organized by

Ko Sugawara, Christian Tischer, Tobias Pietzsch...Jan Kožusznik, Vladimír Ulman


2022 Oct 3 -
2023 Oct 7

Madison, WI, USA

Nodar Gogoberidze, Mark Hiner, Curtis Rueden...Edward Evans, Gabriel Selzer


2022 Dec 5 -
2022 Dec 8

Madison, WI, USA

Wei Ouyang, Mark Hiner, Curtis Rueden, Edward Evans

ImageJ in the cloud

2023 Feb 6 -
2023 Feb 10

Human Technopole
Milan, Italy

Beatriz Serrano-Solano, Carlos Garcia, Caterina Fuster...Christian Tischer, Curtis Rueden, Daniel Sage, David Ackerman, Edward Evans, Fiona Inglis, Florian Jug, Igor Zubarev, Ivan Estevez, Jean-Yves Tinevez, Joran Deschamps, Lucia Moya, Mark Hiner, Mark Kittisopikul, Pete Bankhead, Stephan Saalfeld, Tobias Pietzsch, Wei Ouyang

Accessibility of deep learning models from Java

2023 Apr 15 -
2023 Apr 21

Madison, WI, USA

Jean-Yves Tinevez, Tobias Pietzsch, Curtis Rueden...Mark Hiner, Edward Evans, Gabriel Selzer

TrackMate in 3D

2023 Jun 5 -
2023 Jun 9

Stockholm, Sweden

Wei Ouyang, Carlos Garcia, Caterina Fuster...Curtis Rueden, Jonas Klotz, Matt McCormick, Nodar Gogoberidze, Benjamin Wilhelm, Craig Russell, Andréa Papaleo, Simon Franchini, Tomaz Fogaça Vieira, Sebastian Soyer, Weize Xu, Iván Hidalgo, Vera Galinova

Web and Cloud Infrastructure for AI-Powered BioImage Analysis

2023 Jun 10 -
2023 Jun 17

CSB Dresden
Dresden, Germany

Ulrik Günther, Kyle Harrington, Curtis Rueden...Giuseppe Barbieri, Lukas Tempel, Jan Tiemann, Tobias Pietzsch, Ella Hierche, Samuel Pantze, Vladimír Ulman, Justin Buerger, Aryaman Gupta, Druhin Abrol, Wissal Salhi, Chiara Notaro

scenery & sciview hackathon 2023: Let's get those to 1.0

2023 Jul 21 -
2023 Jul 22

Fairmont San Francisco
San Francisco, CA, USA

Juan Nunez-Iglesias, Grzegorz Bokota, Andy Sweet...Lorenzo Gaifas, Kevin Yamauchi, Genevieve Buckley, Loic Royer, Joel Lüthi, Kyle Harrington, Curtis Rueden

Post-CZI-Imaging-2023 hackathon: napari and sciview

2023 Oct 10 -
2023 Oct 18

Brno, Czechia

Nils Norlin, Vladimír Ulman, Stephan Preibisch...Curtis Rueden, Léo Leplat, Michael Innerberger, Marwan Zouinkhi, Eugene Katrukha, Alan O'Callaghan, Ko Sugawara, Giuseppe Barbieri, Samuel Pantze, Tobias Pietzsch, Eric Trautman, Ulrik Günther, Deborah Schmidt, Carlos Garcia, Stefan Hahmann, Gabor Kovacs, Wojciech Jesionek, Johannes Girstmair, Stephan Saalfeld

ImgLib2 and BigDataViewer