BUFFALO, N.Y. A student organization focused on excellence in
computing will hold the University at Buffalo's first hackathon, UB
Hacking 2012, on March 23-24 with the goal of generating creative,
new software programs (apps). The event is being held in the spirit
of the original meaning of hacking: coding and building programs
for computer software.
UB Hacking will be held in the Salvadore Lounge in Davis Hall on
the North Campus beginning at 5 p.m.March 23rd and will last until
late in the evening on March 24.
Best time for media to attend is March 24 at 6 p.m. when teams
will demo their software programs for judges. On-site contact is
Despite the term's connotations, event organizers explain that
hackathons are perfectly legal events in which computer programmers
and other software developers collaborate intensively on
software-related projects during a specific period of time.
According to the event website at http://ubhacking.com, the event is
"all about hacking together something awesome by using the skills
you picked up from classes or on your own, and then showing it
"UB Hacking 2012 is a contest that aims to give students at UB
the opportunity to both develop and show off their software
development skills," explains Thomas Furlani, PhD, director of the
UB Center for Computational Research (CCR) in UB's New York State
Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, and
interim associate vice president for information technology.
"The time limit adds a level of stress by forcing you to make
quick decisions and think on your feet," says Nick Di Rienzo, a UB
freshman, majoring in computer science and engineering and vice
chair of the university's chapter of the Association for Computing
Machinery, the world's largest and most prestigious scientific and
educational computing society, which is sponsoring the event.
"They're thrown into this real-life scenario that they can't get in
All full- and part-time students at UB are welcome to
participate in the free event, even if they have no coding
experience. During UB Hacking, some sponsors will present "tech
talks" about software used by their companies and software
development in general.
Although not quite a sleepover, students will need to bring a
laptop, and plenty of creativity and enthusiasm, while organizers
supply tables, chairs, power strips and food as well as designated
places for sleeping.
Criteria for winning include a software program's impact and
usefulness, design, usability, functionality and how "polished" or
complete it is.
Prizes include the newest iPad, XBOX 360, or Roku 2 XD for each
member of a winning team.
In addition to ACM, other sponsors are UB's CCR, Synacor,
Rackspace Hosting, GitHub, InfoTech Niagara, Iron.io, twilio and
SendGrid; some sponsors will award winning teams with additional
prizes for using their technologies to develop software.
UB's ACM chapter has raised nearly $8,000 from local and
national companies to fund the event; it also has secured sponsors
and judges to participate.
Judges come from a variety of backgrounds and include
entrepreneur programmer Dan Magnuszewski, entrepreneurial designer,
Nicholas Barone, Geoffrey Challen, PhD, assistant professor of
computer science and engineering at UB, Amin Ghadersohi, a
scientific programmer at CCR and a UB computer science and
engineering alum and Synacor Engineer, Mike Canzoneri.