The 2019 edition of SBUHacks, an annual 24-hour hackathon event celebrating the ingenuity and creativity of student coders, took place on the weekend of September 20-21 in the Melville Library. More than 375 students from across the globe — including participants from Canada, Egypt and India — were in attendance.
What is a Hackathon Anyway?
A hackathon is an “invention marathon.” Anyone who has an interest in technology can attend a hackathon to learn, build and share their creations. The space to hack these projects is a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere where anyone is welcomed. You don’t have to be a programmer, and you certainly don’t have to be majoring in Computer Science, despite what most people may think. At SBUHacks, students are challenged to expand their knowledge by working on projects they are passionate about. Attendees work with fellow students to create something unforgettable.
SBUHacks presented a plethora of challenges for its attendees to solve. With categories for hacks in Security, Artificial Intelligence, Health and even a Funniest Hack, there was something for everyone. There was also a Best Beginner Hack challenge that encouraged newcomers first-time hackers to push their boundaries and try something new and innovative without the restrictions of more difficult hacks/challenges.
“It’s invigorating to see our students embracing the hackathon culture, now thriving and exemplary of our College and the entire Stony Brook community,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Dean, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “I am immensely grateful for the support of our University libraries and partner companies – and applaud them for their enthusiastic commitment to SBU Hacks, and helping us foster an environment of growth and entrepreneurship here at Stony Brook.”
A Special Guest – Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone toured the final projects and talked with students about their hacks. “SBUHacks is an outstanding way for our best and brightest to test out their skills and challenge boundaries,” he said. “I want to congratulate all the participating students and encourage our students to keep building and sharing their innovative creations.”
This year, two of SBUHack’s organizers created a Web service that was deployed at SBUHacks for the first time. The service, called HackerMatcher , aims to help hackers find each other to create hackathon teams based on their similar skills and interests. HackerMatcher achieved great success by helping 70 hackers form teams. What started as a hackathon project developed into something useful, and its creators are working hard to make the service bigger and better.
“Classrooms are the places where we gain the base knowledge necessary for us to go out into the world,” said Rahul Sondhi, a computer science student and SBUHacks Founder and Chair. “However, events like SBUHacks are where we put the knowledge we cultivated to the test and apply it to actual real life problems and scenarios. No other place like these hackathons watch and guide you while you tackle a problem by using your own instinct, creativity and drive.”
Hackathons are commonly supported by company sponsors and SBUHacks had many important partners, including Softheon , Broadridge , Supply House, BNY Mellon , Applied Visions and Facebook . Besides providing the hackathon with funding, these sponsors hosted tech talks, mentored students and assisted in preparations for the event. Students also had the opportunity to network with the companies about potential career opportunities in the future.
— Rahul Sondhi, Taha Ahmed, and Jenny Xu