ConUHacks II will bring more than 400 students together
Montreal’s prime major league hacking marathon, ConUHacks, is gearing up for its second edition of the 24-hour “hackathon” competition.
Organized by HackConcordia, a group of computer science and software engineering students, the event will bring together more than 400 students from across North America to show off their self-expression and creativity through technology. The hackathon will take place at the John Molson School of Business on Jan. 21, at 6 a.m. and will end Jan. 22, at 7 p.m.
The main goal of the hackathon is to create new web or mobile services over a limited time period – in this case, 24 hours. Hackathon projects, or ‘hacks’ can come in the form of websites, mobile applications and robots.
The free event welcomes students from all programs, whether they are new to the concept or not. The hackathon will be hosting tutorials and inviting mentors to help anyone having trouble with different softwares.
“You’re provided with mentors, various workshops, equipment and free food throughout the event,” said participant Aboud Dalab about the competition. “After the time-limit hits, individuals or teams present their projects.” The winners will be chosen by company mentors.
HackConcordia is one of the multiple hacking groups in North America and is part of the official student hackathon league, the Major League Hacking (MLH). MLH helps finance more than 200 weekend invention competitions, bringing more than 65,000 students together from around the world, according to their website.
This year’s ConUHacks will be open format, meaning students will be able to create their projects on web, mobile, desktop or hardware applications.
To give an idea of the scale of the event, last year Concordia received 1,252 applications, but only took 388 participants from 29 different universities. Most of the participants last year came from the U.S.
Some of the most used applications, such as Facebook Chat and the “like” button were first created at internal company hackathons. Another example of a notable hackathon development is GroupMe, a group messaging application that Skype bought for more than $50 million.
Hackathons are, in a sense, a career fair for students in computer science and software engineering programs according to participant Korhan Akçuran. He believes that, for many students, himself included, hackathons are a great opportunity to think about their future careers as programmers and to meet great contacts. Prizes are also given to winning projects. Last year’s prizes amounted to close to $26,000. HackConcordia will provide coffee and food, but suggests the hackers to bring a change of clothes and toiletries. Registration to participate is still open on ConUHacks’ website.
Meet some of Concordia’s participants!
Name: Korhan Akçura
Program: Second year in his masters of software engineering
“I decided to join this year’s ConUHacks II because I have a competitive personality and I like to solve challenges. I also believe that my creativity will be pushed to its limit with the limited time given. I am participating for self-improvement and to give the best of me to produce a successful software project in a short time. I participated at the Quebec Engineering Games and Quebec Engineering Competition while I was an undergraduate at Concordia. My mission is to apply my programming skills in a competitive environment, to produce an original project with my team. I will enjoy being in an environment with like-minded people where I can learn, share and develop my programming and technical skills. But most of all, I am participating for the fun and the satisfaction that will come after accomplishing the challenging task.”
Name: Aboud Dalab
Program: Second year in BA marketing
“I decided to join the hackathon to learn from all the mentors who will be present. I was introduced to the hackathon world because of my friends in the computer science program and then did my own research to find other hackathons near Montreal. When you’re hacking, you’re building, so we will see as a team what we will decide to create. Generally, hackathons are very messy due to the 24-hour time limit. I doubt that we will follow a specific form of hacking due to time. Another great part of hackathons is that they are looking for people from all sorts of backgrounds, meaning not only programmers and software engineers. This prepares us for real life because to create a software project, you need all kinds of people from different fields.
Name: Daniel Privorotsky
Program: Second year in BA software engineering
“I decided to join the hackathon for a few different reasons. First off, the fun that comes from creating new things, challenging yourself and placing your knowledge to the test. Additionally, it is a great opportunity to meet people and expand your network. And, of course, it looks pretty good on your CV. My friends told me about the hackathon, which is why I joined. I have participated in one hackathon event before, but this year will be my first time at ConUHacks. I am excited to see the challenges that will be given to create the programs. Since there exist many different kinds of programming languages, interfaces, platforms and so on, having members who specialize in certain fields can be very helpful.”