by Nicole Capozziello
Published January 6, 2022
UB Hacking returned to an in-person format this year, with over 300 enthusiastic students convening in Davis Hall for the annual event. This year's event also featured a virtual component for non-UB students that drew participants from around the world.
Hacking started at noon on Saturday, November 6, 2021, and ended at noon on Sunday, November 7, 2021, followed by judging and closing ceremonies at 3:00 p.m. Typcially a 24-hour event, students got an extra hour this year due to daylight saving time.
“I’m so pleased to see the completion of another successful UB Hacking event. I’m proud of all of the students who made this happen and participated, and appreciative of all the CSE faculty and staff who lent their time and expertise,” says Jinhui Xu, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
Teams of one to four members spent the time creating various hardware or software-focused projects, resulting in 88 teams submitting projects.
Winning teams were awarded an array of prizes, totaling $10,500. In addition to first, second and third place winners, other categories included UB Hacking Best Freshman Hack, and the Lead-a-Newbie prize. Check out all the winning submissions here.
Some challenges were presented by specific sponsors, such as M&T's topic which was “the most fun way and inclusive way to boost social engagement in a remote-work setting.” Meanwhile WNY-based grocer Wegmans asked teams to create an application that could support an employee working in the challenging new environment of COVID-19.
Other highlights of the event include working as a team, networking with representatives from sponsor companies and being able to dedicate time to make a creative project come to life.
Logan Ramhap, a senior computer science major and UB Hacking co-director, says, “These events allow students to carve out time to work on the random project that's been sitting in the back of their mind, while learning something new that goes beyond what they learn in class.”
Faculty and staff were around throughout the event, learning about student projects, providing advice, and presenting informational talks.
“During a hackathon, students get exposure to and first-hand experience on projects that companies have as well as the opportunity to work on their own ideas,” says Gaurav Jaisinghani, a senior computer science major and UB Hacking co-director.
He believes that the experience is particularly important this year. “Because of COVID-19, many freshmen and sophomores didn't get a chance to explore all of these clubs and organizations within SEAS. I think this event opens a lot of opportunities, including networking with fellow students, mentors, faculty and staff members.”
Sponsors hosted fireside chats on Saturday evening as well as tech talks throughout the event on subjects such as cryptocurrency and game creation. They also held a career fair before the official start of hacking, where students were able to connect with company representatives and apply for jobs.
“UB Hacking celebrates student creativity and gives us the resources and time to be able to follow that creativity,” says Radhika Jois, a senior computer engineering major and sponsorship co-lead. “I feel really fortunate to have the support of multiple sponsors who are willing to donate their time and money to help students create a sense of community and a network that is supportive of SEAS and their students.”
This year’s sponsors included M&T Tech, ACV Auctions, Foundry, Moog, Wegmans, ValueCentric/IQVIA, Teknic, Stark & Wayne and Willis Towers Watson.
Partner organizations were CSExplore (donated hardware and ran the hardware lab), CMI AV, and StickerMule.
UB Hacking is a student-run hackathon that brings together students of all experience levels to build innovative projects, from apps to games.
This year’s organizing committee included Logan Ramhap and Gaurav Jaisinghai (co-directors), Jonathan Romano and Rebecca Ramhap (venue), Radhika Jois and Max Farrington (sponsorship), Noorul Haq Sabaah and Rrucha Singh (logistics), Ken Jiang and Shamroy Pellew (website), Ahana Bhattacharya and Cailey Shum (publicity), Prasoon Naithani and Megan Benzinger (graphics), and Daniel Bueno and Osho Priya (food and mentors).