The inaugural hackUMBC hackathon was a smashing success!
Held in the UMBC Skylight Room from 7:00pm Friday to 7:00pm Saturday this past weekend, UMBC’s first-ever hackathon was open to all UMBC students of any skill level, from innovators and explorers to designers and hardcore coders. Its purpose was to allow students to mingle and collaborate for 24 continuous hours of community exploration to grow technology projects from scratch while expanding their connections to other students, industry leaders, and faculty. Admission was free and attracted students from across the UMBC campus community, including CS, CE, EE, IS, Biology, Biotechnology, Math, Physics, and Media Studies.
The term ‘hackathon’ hearkens back to the original meaning of “hacker” and “hacking” in early Internet history — namely, to “hack together (create) something quickly” instead of their current interpretations typically referring to illegal cybersecurity activities.
The theme for hackUMBC 2013 was “Hacking to Improve Campus Life” with the goal of ‘hacking together’ any sort of hardware or software project that helps students, teachers, or schools. Accordingly, projects developed during the event included a textbook resale service, realtime intelligent parking space sensors, Peoplesoft interface refinements, and mobile apps to help UMBC students network, socialize, and monitor class schedules, among many others.
Throughout the event, volunteer mentors from UMBC and local industry circulated amongst the teams to offer advice and guidance on their efforts, including how to successfully ‘pitch’ their products to the judges.
UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski joined the festivities early Friday evening to offer words of encouragement and motivation for the nearly 100 UMBC students competing in this innovative and highly charged event.
hackUMBC was conceived by CSEE students Perry Ogwuche and Randi Williams following their summer experience as fellows at CODE2040. Assisting in the effort was Prajit Kumar Das, CS PhD student and president of UMBC’s ACM chapter, and Alexander Morrow, a senior CS student and president of UMBC’s Cryptocurrency Club. CSEE’s Dr. Rick Forno served as faculty advisor to the event.
Projects were evaluated by several faculty and staff judges based on creativity, technical difficulty, polish, relevance, and usefulness. More than $2500 in prizes were awarded!
First Place: BookSwap (Rostislav Tsiomenko, Ilya Dynin)
Second Place: Erill Labs (Robert Forder, Talmo Pereira, Patrick O’Neill, Sefa Kilic)
Third Place: Clever Source Solutions (Edward Mukasey, Ian Shefferman, Chinonso Ugwu)
hackUMBC Judges: Tim Oates, Rick Forno, Wesley Griffin, Dan Hood, Shawn Lupoli, Valerie Thomas, Geoffrey Weiss, and Ashwinkumar Ganesan.
hackUMBC was sponsored by Northrop Grumman, the UMBC Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, ClearEdge IT Solutions, Independent Security Evaluators, Next Century Corporation, TriTech Systems, Github, CODE2040, the UMBC BWTech Cync Program, and the UMBC Alex Brown Center.
More information can be found at the hackUMBC page.