Almost 3,000 software developers and technophiles from around the world touched down in Saudi Arabia this week for the world's largest-ever hackathon.
Organized by the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP), the Hajj Hackathon aims at promoting the use of technology to boost the Hajj - pilgrimage - experience.
The three-day event was launched on July 31 at Jeddah's International Exhibition and Convention Center. Here's what you need to know:
1. The hackathon made it to the Guinness World Records
According to Al-Arabiya, the Hajj Hackathon broke the Guinness World Record for the number of participants at a hackathon, having welcomed 2,950 participants from over 100 countries.
"The Kingdom entering Guinness Records through Hajj Hackathon, confirms the ambition of the Saudi youths that their country is a gate for technology in the region," said head of SAFCSP, Saud Bin Abdulla Al-Kahtani.
2. The Saudi government teamed up with Google to launch the event
Founders of the world's leading tech giants spoke at the event, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as well as Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales.
"This event is one of the most important things for a country that has great ambition to become the gateway to technology in the Middle East," Wales said during the event's opening ceremony, according to The National.
Meanwhile, Wozniak emphasized the significance of the event's theme, saying, "One of the most powerful points of being here is to help the community... as the country has one of the greatest missions: Hajj".
3. The event is all about enhancing the Hajj experience
The event requires participants to propose ideas that would modernize the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and enhance the experience through technology and innovation.
The competition focuses on improving Hajj services in food sanitation, finance, transportation, accommodation, communication, and crowd management, according to The National.
4. Participants competed for prizes worth $533,000
The top three participants will win cash prizes amounting to $533,000 in total, which would be used to implement their ideas.
The first prize is worth $266,000, the second is $133,000, while the third is $93,000. Additionally, a prize of $39,000 will be awarded for distinction.
5. The event comes in line with the kingdom's Vision 2030
The hackathon comes as part of "the kingdom's commitment to stimulating innovation and reaching regional and global leadership under the objectives of Vision 2030," according to The National.
Vision 2030, which was put forward by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, seeks to diversify the country's economy, create more job opportunities, and modernize the kingdom, among other ambitious goals.