Northwestern to host intercollegiate hackathon

Madeline Coe, Reporter

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Two student groups will host Northwestern’s first intercollegiate hackathon, WildHacks, this weekend.

Hosted by Entrepreneurs Pioneers Innovators Creators, known as EPIC, and HackNorthwestern, the 24-hour event will bring together student entrepreneurs from colleges across the United States to formulate solutions to real-world problems in the digital realm.

“You come for 24 hours and you build stuff,” said Dan Lesser, a Weinberg senior and event organizer.

There will be students from multiple colleges, including Purdue University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, University of Michigan and University of Iowa.

Major League Hacking, a website dedicated to student hackathon leagues, partnered with WildHacks to help promote the event. Websites such as Major League Hacking, along with e-mail blasts and word-of-mouth, all had a part in advertising the hackathon.

“It’s kind of like an umbrella organization; they make it like a sports tournament,” said McCormick junior Nikhil Pai, who is part of HackNorthwestern.

NU has had hackathons in the past, but none have been intercollegiate, Pai said.

Students can work as individuals or in a team with up to five members in order to win cash prizes for up to $2,000, said Lesser, a former Daily staffer. Sponsors will reward winners with other prizes as well, including Google Chromebooks.

Programming will take place in the Louis Room at Norris University Center. Opening ceremonies will begin 11:30 a.m. Saturday and the official event will run for 24 hours beginning at 12:30 p.m. Students can also sit in on “Tech Talks” which will feature representatives from Microsoft, IBM and DataStax.

Although the contest focuses heavily on computer science, students of all majors and backgrounds are welcome to participate.

“Even though I’m not an engineering major, it sounds really interesting,” said Communication freshman Arianna Mihalakakos.

Representatives from BrandBucket, an organization specializing in business name branding, will be on site to help students implement their solutions in the real world.

The judging period will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 23, with the awards ceremony happening later that evening. The programmers will be judged based on four categories: technicality, originality, usefulness and polish/design. At least one NU professor and other professionals in technical fields will judge the competition.

Twitter: @MaddieCoe