THE Port

About Us

We combine creative minds from CERN and non-profit organisations in interdisciplinary teams to work on humanitarian technology related benefits to society.
Unite Innovators

Interdisciplinary teams of handpicked individuals chosen for their field-leading expertise and innovative mind combine humanitarian questions with state of the art science, cutting-edge technology and endless fantasy.

Impact Future

The fusion of today’s real life problems analysis and vision of scientific evolution of the next decades forces us to develop concepts and solutions for the future - hungry to use our expertise in challenges of new fields.

Act Today

Why not?
There are no excuses - there is no better place than here - no better time than now - nobody more creative than you.
If you just want!

Hackathon Event

Organised by THE Port Association, hosted by CERN IdeaSquare and with partners from other non-governmental organisations, a three-day problem solving workshop hackathon will be devoted to humanitarian, social and public interest topics. Interdisciplinary teams of selected participants will work together in the fields of:
communication - transport - health - science - learning - work - culture - data

 CERN, Geneva, Switzerland

 31st October - 2nd November 2014




If you sucessfully pass the application, you will be informed about your team members and your topic 6 weeks ahead of the final event. In this preparation phase your team will be supported to organize videoconferences to get to know each other. A collaborative workspace will allow you to jointly collect and communicate ideas, develop specifications, share inspirational pictures and videos, compose lists of needed materials and tools, discuss your strategy and co-edit concept papers, source code and presentations.

Your team coach and a pool of Experts On-Call will be available to help finding organisational and technical solutions. The day before the hackathon you will have the chance to visit experiments at CERN and meet our team in their usual work environment.

During the hackathon you will only have a few scheduled events. After a short welcome and introduction part you will introduce yourself (now in-person) to your team in a 3 minute pitch. In the evening of the first day your team will pitch your project to the other teams in 5 minutes. A midterm review on the second day will allow you to collect external feedback on your findings. A joint work breakfast on the 3rd day will give you the chance to glance into the topics of the other teams.

Your results you will present and demonstrate in a 8 minute pitch to a broad audiance at the cocktail reception in the evening. The after party will give you more space and time for discussion, review and networking. A one page summary of each teams results will be published together with all produced hardware, source code and documentation.

More information you find in our latest participant flyer.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Hackathon? Never heard!
What is the goal?
How does it work?
How do you select participants?
How do I get to CERN and the event space?
I am hungry - what to do?
Do I need to pay to attend?
Do I need to be a hardcore computer specialist?
Is accommodation provided?


Our topics selected for the 2014 edition are inspired by friends and collegues working at Red Cross, Unosat, Skyguide and United Nations. An introduction of the example topics in video clips you find here and here.

THE Port
A private information retrieval data store
 achievements  participants
THE Port
Terrain elevation determination for refugee camps
 achievements  participants
THE Port
The conflict zone humanitarian demarcation certificate
 website  video
 achievements  participants
THE Port
Tracking and demarcation system for dogs in rescue and de-mining operations
 website  video
 achievements  participants
THE Port
The 10$ inflatable fridge for field operations

 achievements  participants
THE Port
Portable cosmic ray detector with grid analysis

 achievements  participants

With our partner CERN Summer Student Webfest and our topic inspirator UNITAR/UNOSAT work on the terrain elevation topic already started and was driven further in the THE Port hackathon:

THE Port
Terrain elevation determination for refugee camps

"Best Innovative Project" prize at the CERN Summer Student Webfest with a mobile phone app implemented by Vladimir Ilievski. He was mentored by Michael Kagan.

In Numbers

Interdisciplinary Teams
Members per Team
Weeks Preparation
Hours Finish
  • "Much of the technology we take for granted today
    can be traced back to basic research
    in the highly demanding research fields
    our organizations deal in."
    Rolf Heuer, Director-General of CERN
  • "... information and communication technologies give us potential to improve standards of living throughout the world. Our challenge is to harness that potential for the benefit of all people."
    Kofi A. Annan, Secretary-General of United Nations
  • "... it is incumbent on us to make sure that our innovations
    get to the people who can turn them into new technologies
    that will benefit mankind in ways
    that go beyond the laboratory"
    Rolf Heuer, Director-General of CERN


Impressions about our work, our association activities, the planning and preparation of the hackathon.
THE Port About Us

THE Port

About Us

THE Port Teaser 1

THE Port - Silent Film Teaser

Part 1

THE Port Teaser 2

THE Port - Silent Film Teaser

Part 2


THE Port - Silent Film Teaser


CERN Webfest

CERN Summer Student Webfest




in 3 minutes





Our Work

New detector installation

THE Port 2014

THE Port 2014



From 90 applicants who entered the 2nd round and were invited to perform a video interview, we assembled 5 interdisziplinary and intercultural teams.

Pier 42

Pier 19

Pier 27

Pier 83

Pier 56

Pier X1

The PierX1 topic will be organized and run by the CERN Robotics club and will be supported by THE Port association.



Our teams will be supported by local mentors.

Pier 42

Pier 19

Pier 27

Pier 83

Pier 56


Any ideas for projects, topics or questions we should work on? Or interested in sponsoring?

Contact Us Now

Partners and Friends

Our members, partners, sponsors and friends are from international and local non-governmental organisations and companies in and around Geneva, Switzerland.


If the world needs a change, why not you? Why not now?

Meet Our Team

Without the enthusiastic voluntary work of our Experts On-Call, Organizing Team, Advisory Board and Executive Committee we could not work professionally - a big Thank You and it is fantastic to work with you. If You want to be part of this extraordinary team, please consider a membership, to contact or to follow us on social media.

Executive Committee
  • Ines
    Ines Knäpper

    Project Manager with strong background in Intercultural Management, Sales and Customer Service.

  • “Cecile”
    Cecile Lapoire

    Physicist working on the ATLAS pixel detector, curious about art, human beings, life, universe, etc.

  • Michael
    Michael Kagan

    Expert in large-scale data analysis, pattern recognition, and ATLAS pixel detector quality assurance.

Organizing Team
  • Andrey
    Andrey Loginov

    Physicist working on Transition Radiation Tracker and top(-pair) + Higgs data analyses.

  • Bilge
    Bilge Demirköz

    Associate Professor at METU working on the AMS-02 experiment.

  • Bruno
    Bruno Silva De Sousa

    IT engineer, service manager at CERN.

  • Clemens
    Clement Helsens

    Physicist still searching for new physics in the top-quark sector in the ATLAS experiment.

  • Cristina
    Cristina Olivotto

    Founder of Sterrenlab, working in the field of science communication and education in formal and informal environments.

  • Hansdieter
    Hansdieter Schweiger

    Mechanical Engineer working on Pixel detector and services upgrade for the ATLAS experiment.

  • Iulia
    Iulia Pascu

    Project Manager, event organiser at CERN.

  • Jens
    Jens Dopke
    Founding Member

    Physicist working on silicon detector construction, calibration and operation, big fan of electronics.

  • Juliet
    Juliet Primo

    Project consultant, communication and outreach.

  • Joona
    Joona Kurikka
    Aalto University
    Founding Member

    Doctoral student, Cooperation Associate at IdeaSquare@CERN.

  • “Karola”
    Karola Dette

    Doctoral student working on silicon sensor upgrade developments for the ATLAS experiment.

  • “Karolos”
    Karolos Potamianos
    Berkeley Lab
    Founding Member

    Physicist and engineer working on silicon detectors, currently on the data acquisition for the ATLAS Pixel Detector, and data analysis.

  • “Laura”
    Laura Jeanty
    Berkeley Lab
    Founding Member

    Physicist working on data acquisition for the ATLAS Pixel detector with expertise in detector monitoring and data analysis.

  • Michael
    Michael Leyton
    Founding Member

  • Patricia
    Patricia Montalvo

    I work as administrative manager. I love the idea of improving the life of those less favoured by using technology.

  • Pierre
    Pierre Freyermuth

    Authentic Proton-breeder, Electronic technician and Java developer.

  • Ruben
    Ruben Fernandez Morcillo
    Founding Member

    Mechanical technician with knowledge in rapid prototyping machinery. Currently working as safety officer.

  • Tomoko
    Tomoko Muranaka

    Physicist working on material characterisations for future accelerator developments.

  • Tuuli
    Tuuli Utriainen
    Aalto University
    Founding Member

    Piloting activities at IdeaSquare@CERN.

Advisory Board

Ariane Koek   •   CERN   •   Director and creator of Arts@CERN programmes

Barbara Warmbein   •   DESY   •   Linear Collider communication and LHC communication for Germany

Ben Segal   •   Honorary CERN-IT staff member   •   Citizen Web Science projects, seminars and hackfests within and outside CERN

Cornelius Bubenzer   •   Skyguide   •   Digital Media & Publications Manager

David Galbraith   •   Tech entrepreneur, former architect, now designer of digital things - including RSS, Yelp, 'pinning'

Neal Hartman   •   Berkeley Lab   •   Director and President at CinéGlobe Film Festival

Robin M. Coupland   •   ICRC   •   Field Surgeon and Medical Adviser

Sara Sekkenes   •   United Nations Development Program   •   Adviser, Conflict Prevention and Recovery

Experts On-Call


We are looking for volunteers who are willing to share their creativity, innovative thinking and expertise with the teams. If you want to contribute as 'Expert On-Call' and agree to be contacted during the 1.5 month preparation phase, the 72 hour final or both, please sign up with your field of expertise. You have the choice how and when the teams are allowed to contact you. Obviously you are more than welcome to visit the teams during the final and contribute with ideas or constructive feedback.

Sign Up Now


You can become a member of THE Port association. There are three different membership categories available
  • Supporter
  • 10 CHF/year
  • stay informed
  • receive THE Port sticker
  • Member
  • 50 CHF/year
  • actively contribute
  • receive THE Port coffee mug
  • Favorer
  • 100 CHF/year
  • provide financial support
  • receive THE Port special gadget

If you would like to become a member of our association please send us an email to

Your membership at THE Port association allows you to take part in the general assemblies, to vote on decissions and the election of the executive committee. All membership categories have the same voting right. The membership allows you to take an active part in our association and propose yourself for open posts. You have the chance to propose topics and candidates, as well as helping in the organisation of the events.

Furthermore with becoming a member of "THE Port" association, you will be informed well in advance about events that will take place in the future and you will receive exclusive THE Port gadgets.

A reduction of 2 CHF/year can be requested by members of the CERN Staff Association or similar or staff associations of other non-govermental organizations.

Contact Us

Get in touch with us!

Get Started

If you have an idea for a project, topic or question we should work on or you have a general question to the event or our association, please feel free to contact us.

Have a question? Drop us a line.

THE Port Association