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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Largest hackathon in A&M history to kick off Friday

Three hundred students representing Texas universities will assemble at the Bernard C. Richardson Zone at Kyle Field for the largest hackathon in A&M History.
This year’s event will be the second hackathon hosted by TAMU Hack, a student organization focusing on programming, engineering and innovation.
A hackathon is an opportunity for those interested in computer science and engineering to come work on a project with others with similar interests, said Bob Timm, vice president of TAMU Hack.
“It’s a chance to work on a project in an environment and get the main idea across, so it could be a software product, it could just be a design on something, for example, like an app, or a web service,” Timm said.
Rafa Moreno, president of TAMU Hack, said the hackathon has skyrocketed in popularity over the past year.
“[Hackathon] is growing to the point where, even today, I’m getting messages on my phone from people who really really want to go that they didn’t register in time that want to wait in line outside of the event to see if we haven’t reached capacity if they could get in,” Moreno said.
Timm said hackathon’s popularity is starting to sustain itself.
“This year we were able to fill the entire event without having to do much marketing at all, with what we had in terms of students that were interested last year, so it’s really just kind of grown organically since we started last year.”
Moreno said there will be a number of prizes available for the participants to win, whether it be from the raffles or the competitions.
“Companies come in and they have categories that you can compete through, that after, during all the demos, they’ll judge them and pick a winner off of that and they’ll get a prize, and besides that we’ll have first, second and third overall, winners who will also get prizes as well.”
The event kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday and will continue into the evening Saturday. The “hacks” will be displayed starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, at which time the judges as well as anyone else can look at them, Moreno said.
“We’ll conclude it with awarding the winners their prizes and have everybody on their way, and the top 10 projects we’ll demo in front of everybody on the stage and of those top 10 we’ll pick first second and third place,” Moreno said.
Chris Nolan, TAMU Hack Director of Operations, said the hackathon is a great way for students to gain networking opportunities with peers, internships and jobs.
“More likely than not, you’ll end up on a team with people from a couple of different schools, so that’s a great way to network and gain connections with peers,” Nolan said. “Also our sponsors will be at the event in booths and tables, walking around and talking to students, so they’ll get some networking there too.”
Nolan said he thinks the hands-on practice associated with the event has helped it become so popular.
“In school we learn a lot of theory, so events like this hackathon give people a great chance to build something that’s not necessarily tied into some complex theory,” Nolan said.
TAMU Hack is also looking for ways to get students involved with technology outside of the hackathon.
Timm said they hope to host workshops on programming and have guest speakers come talk for interested students.
“Rafa and I actually, three weeks ago, hosted an android bootcamp,” Timm said. “He and I came up with an app, a pretty simple app, it was a messaging application that allowed everyone in the class to sort of talk to each other and chat with their own cool, unique avatars.”
The TAMU Hackathon kicks off 7 p.m. Friday at the Zone in Kyle Field.

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