HackGSU to Be Held for Fourth Time
On November 3–5, Georgia State University will host hackGSU, the university’s “big league” hackathon, for the fourth time. The event will take place on the concourse level of the Aderhold Learning Center from Friday at 5:00 p.m. until Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
hackGSU is a team-based competition during which students compete to build software projects, including websites and applications. At the end of the event, teams demonstrate what they’ve built and prizes are awarded to the teams with the best projects.
hackGSU was held for the first time in March 2016 and then again in October 2016. hackGSU returned in the spring of 2017 for the third time. This event, which was held on March 31 through April 2, drew over 600 students from 20 high schools as well as many major universities, including Purdue University, Arizona State University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Indiana University. The largest contingents came from Georgia Tech (165 participants) and the University of Florida (52 participants). Students also traveled from as far away as India, Egypt, Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France.
Participants in the Spring 2017 hackGSU were eligible for a number of awards, ranging from Best Design to the Prank Time! Prize. The Anthem Grand Prize went to the Vizitr group, which built an app focused on visitor sign-in and information collection technology. By using an Amazon Echo skill that interacts with visitors, Vizitr created an app that collects patrons’ names and provides data for tracking when patrons sign in and sign out.
BeamTeam was also a big winner for their team-based laser tag game, which was powered by Arduino and used Bluetooth technology. Their submission won first place overall in addition to the GE Prize and the Best Use of Amazon Web Services Prize.
Participation in hackGSU is free for attendees, with sponsors paying for all expenses, including food and prizes. The Spring 2017 hackGSU had 25 sponsors, with most of the major support coming from corporate sponsors General Electric and Anthem.
hackGSU is one of the few hackathons in which participants can win internships at major companies such as GE and Anthem. During the event, prize winners can interact directly with employers and get their resumes into the hands of HR representatives. Moreover, sponsors can offer internships on the spot to attendees. In addition, many participants are contacted after the event by HR departments based on their group projects and individual performance.
The organizers of HackGSU would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped support the March/April event, with special mention going to CS faculty members Dr. Erin-Elizabeth Durham, Dr. Robert Harrison, Dr. Anu Bourgeois, and Dr. Raj Sunderraman, and staff members Paul Bryan and Tammie Dudley.
But most importantly, recognition goes to the multitude of student volunteers, which included Ph.D. candidate Michael McDermott, Gene Chorba, Imanuel Sonubi, Solo Arnett, Joshua King, and members of the GSU student chapter of the ACM and the GSU student branch of the IEEE.
Story by Jamie Hayes