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HackUMBC inspires students to create fresh technical solutions in whirlwind 24-hour hackathon

Nearly 500 students from UMBC and colleges across the region gathered on campus for HackUMBC 2016, a 24-hour hackathon for students to develop technological solutions (“hacks”) to problems that matter to them. The event enables students, both with and without coding experience, to work on innovative projects independently and collaboratively, to network and expand their skills, and to learn directly from leaders in the industry.

“I was completely blown away by how many people came out not only from UMBC but schools from across the East Coast. Seeing how much HackUMBC has grown and is continuing to grow is an overwhelming feeling that continues to leave me in awe year after year,” said Celeste Wong ‘18, computer science and social work, a HackUMBC co-organizer.

Participating student teams submitted 71 hacks at the end of the event. Twelve hacks received awards from the HackUMBC organization and from sponsors.

The award-winning app Parking Pronto was designed to help users find parking spots on campus through crowdsourcing, showing available spots based on permit type. Another app, Beige, won the award for the “Best Hack Against Online Harassment.” This app automatically blocks from a Twitter user’s view those accounts that post a certain number of “user-defined trigger words.”

Katherine Gibson ’08, computer science, and John Park, both lecturers of CSEE, and Rick Forno, assistant director of the UMBC Center for Cybersecurity, director of the Cybersecurity Graduate Program at UMBC, and faculty advisor to HackUMBC student organization, served as judges.

“Now in its fourth year, HackUMBC continues to grow in standing and regional attraction,” said Forno. “It’s always an awesome feeling to see the amazing intellectual energy and technical results these students—novices and experts alike—generate at this prominent, intense, around-the-clock campus event.”

In addition to becoming a very popular regional event, HackUMBC is gaining steam on a larger scale. The official student hackathon league Major League Hacking recently released standings for the North American Spring 2016 season, listing UMBC as eighth out of 47 schools. Wong explained that while the ranking shows HackUMBC has become a popular event with students, it also shows that the university’s “hackathon community is representing UMBC well across North America.”

For more information about the entries and winners of HackUMBC 2016, visit the HackUMBC website.

Logo courtesy of HackUMBC.