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Teams of techies troubleshoot

Biola’s first hackathon will provide community and creativity.   |   Tim Seeberger/THE CHIMES

 

Theatre majors bond through productions. Cinema and media arts majors connect on film sets. Music majors find camaraderie during their tiring rehearsals, but for computer science majors, making friends seems more difficult. In a major requiring students to sit in front of their computer screen for hours, how can one make friends?

A computer connection

The computer science club, a recent addition to Biola’s campus, will host its first ever hackathon, titled “Biola Hacks,” in order to bring about more community in the computer science department.

“This event will not only be fun for students and also connect other students in a social environment, but it will also update their resume,” said Matthew Kang, junior computer science major and leader of planning the event. “Then they can also put a new skillset in the back of their pockets.”

The event will commence in the business building on Saturday, May 12, at 10 a.m. and will continue through the night until Sunday, May 13, at 5 p.m. The attendees, consisting of both Biola students and students from other universities, will join in groups, solve computer problems and hopefully, by the end of Sunday, create something that will prove a helpful asset to people in the future. At the end of the event, the judges will pick a winner according to the finished products and award them with money.

Serious planning

In an article by Fast Company, the founder of ChallengePost—the organization that runs the most amount of hackathons in the world—Brandon Kessler expounded on the goals hackathon hosts have for the contestants following the event.

“[You want] the developers, designers and product people to come out of the hackathon feeling as though they’ve learned something,” Kessler said in the article.

Ever since Kang went to a hackathon in his hometown of San Diego, he has wanted to bring one to Biola’s campus. This year, as the club president, he has finally had the chance to make his hopes come true for this event.

Kang proposed the idea to the club at the beginning of the fall semester. Then they began seriously planning the event at the beginning of the spring semester, often spending at least 5 hours each week working on it. Since they needed a decent amount of funds to pay for the four meals they plan to provide, they called many sponsors to try to acquire donations. They also had to see about minute details, such as ensuring parking passes for their guests.

“I’m really excited because there’s more community within the computer science club, and there’s people that are actively trying for these new events,” said Michael Lima, junior computer science major, member of the club and participant in the hackathon.

If all goes well with the event, the club hopes to host events like this in the future to keep Biola a place of community for computer science enthusiasts.

“I hope they do because it helps students build projects and have experience other than school projects, which is that they took initiative, which companies really like,” Lima said.

 

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