About Hacktech 2023

Hacktech by Caltech is SoCal’s premier annual intercollegiate hackathon. This is our 9th year hosting Hacktech and our first in-person hackathon since the pandemic, so we’re making sure this one is a banger. Hacktech will be covering transportation, food, and accommodation for all hackers coming from the SoCal area. For those not in the immediate vicinity, worry not! You can still tune in online to compete for over $10,000 in CASH prizes.

This year, we’ve decided to zero in on sustainability. With climate catastrophes regularly making headlines, it’s time to do our part in the fight against climate change. A large variety of projects will be acceptable, as long as it relates to our core theme of sustainability. This may include addressing issues such as reducing waste and pollution, promoting renewable energy, and increasing energy efficiency.

Some possible sample projects to give you an idea and to get your creative mind started include: Optimizing power systems with Deep Learning, incentivizing reduced energy usage through gamification, and a series of interactive Jupyter Notebooks to give users a sense of the scale of Climate Impact in US Coastal Cities and more.

We are truly excited to see how you choose to innovate and tackle these difficult issues.

We will provide additional support along the way with interactive workshops to help you hone your problem solving skills and build lasting connections with peers and companies alike.

Apply for Hacktech

Apply to Hacktech 2023 here. Tip: prepare a resume!


What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is where your ideas can come to life in a short period of time. There's food, speakers, tech talkers, recruiters, and of course, tons of building!

Is Hacktech in-person or online?

Hacktech is hybrid this year. We will be selecting the 345 top applicants from the local SoCal colleges (UCLA, USC, Claremont colleges, etc.) to attend in-person.

Is there a COVID policy for in-person hackers?

For non-Caltech students, you will have to provide proof of vaccination and a COVID test taken within 48 hours of arriving.

Who can participate?

Anyone! If you're a high schooler, you'll participate online. College students may potentially participate online or in-person.

What are your prizes?

Unlike other Hackathons where you will receive items you may or may not ever use, we're handing out $10,000 in cold, hard, cash.


You’ll also hear from leading experts from Academia and Industry. This year we have Nobel Laureate Kip Thorne, renowned fusion researcher Tammy Ma, sustainability technology pioneer Jonas Peters, and hybrid aircraft extraordinaire Kevin Noertker.

Read more about each of our speakers below!

Kip Thorne

Professor Kip Thorne (B.S. Caltech, Ph.D. Princeton) is internationally known for his contributions to gravitational physics and astrophysics as a researcher and author. Professor Thorne was awarded the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for his role in developing the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and detecting gravitational waves for the first time. Thorne has also written popular science books including Black Holes & Time Warps and advised on the 2014 movie Interstellar.

Tammy Ma

Dr. Tammy Ma (B.S. Caltech, Ph.D. UCSD) is an experimental laser-plasma physicist at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Besides doing experiments on the world’s largest, most energetic laser in pursuit of thermonuclear fusion, her current role also encompasses many science outreach activities, including public talks and lectures and media interviews. She was recently responsible for the nuclear fusion breakthrough at LLNL, in which the scientists got more energy out of the process than they put in, paving the way for clean energy production in the future.

Jonas Peters

Professor Peter Jonas (B.S. UChicago, Ph.D. MIT) is the Bren Professor of Chemistry at Caltech and director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute. Jonas has published some 200 primary research articles and is internationally recognized for his work towards the development of catalysts and photocatalysts with applications in renewable solar fuel technologies, distributed nitrogen fixation for fertilizers and fuels, and chemical transformations fundamental to the discovery of new pharmaceuticals. Jonas and his coworkers are recognized for pioneering research relevant to global carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen cycles, with energy storage applications. As director of the Resnick Sustainability Institute, Jonas is leveraging Caltech's unique strengths to innovate solutions for a more sustainable planet.

Kevin Noertker

Kevin Noertker (B.S. Caltech) is Cofounder and CEO of Ampaire. Kevin spent seven years in aerospace R&D and program management at Northrop Grumman, running multi-million dollar programs and developing and fielding advanced aircraft and satellite technologies. He has a proven track record for initiating and delivering innovative technical solutions, building and motivating teams, and optimizing systems. He now runs Ampaire, an aerospace startup based in Los Angeles that’s developing electric airplanes. Ampaire is nearly two years old and enables Kevin to combine his technical and management skills with his entrepreneurial vision, love for the outdoors, and passion for things that fly.


Special thanks to our sponsors!



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