MU’s own hackathon, TigerHacks, began its opening ceremonies on Oct. 12 to a dreary background of rain and freezing winds. These weather conditions had no effect on the warmth and happiness of the contestants waiting in line on the first floor of Lafferre Hall, eager to begin their weekend’s journey of creation and technological development.
Since 2012, MU has hosted hackathons each year and this one had hopes to be its most ambitious. A hackathon is an event in which competitors come from all over the country to participate in a creative tournament. Each year, competitors are given a theme and guidelines with which to create a project. The weekend consisted of free food, tech talks, laser tag, puppies and plenty of caffeine to code on. This year’s theme was Journalism and Media. Ideas were all over the place from helping journalists find restrooms to helping them have wifi while traveling.
With over 200 contestants, the halls were filled with hushed tones, vibrant laughter, clicking keyboard keys and an air of competition. Many hackers were MU students or from the Columbia area, but for some this trip was a little longer. Nathan Dyuran, a competitor from Yellville, Arkansas, was excited by the prospect of taking his developer skills to the next level.
“This is my first time coming to Hackathon and I'm really impressed with it,” Dyuran said. “The staff are doing a great job here and there are a lot of opportunities.”
A quick beginning and a bit of settling in for the night turned into a long stretch of development and programming with little hope of sleep. Hackers had varying degrees of competitiveness. While some hackers were dead set on victory, others focused more on the good feelings of competition. Everyone, though, expressed genuine love for programming and development throughout the event. There were even hackers who had no prior experience whatsoever and opted to help their groups out as best they could, showing that all were welcome at the hackathon.
While the event itself seemed well-oiled, that wasn't always the case behind the scenes. One such instance had members of the hosting staff scrambling as a large corporation, Microsoft Corp., was notably absent from the festivities. For many hackers, this turn of events was a let down.
What really excited the hackers was the prospect of networking with companies. Booths for Centene Corp. and Software Design Partners were open in the front lobby of Lafferre Hall for anyone interested.
The hackathon finished with each project being judged and given a rank in specific categories. The categories were Audience Choice, Startup, Best Beginner Project and the Main Event with several miscellaneous categories behind them.
The winner for Audience Choice was Tiger Event, an app for event management in one's personal life.
Globo took first place in the startup category because it aimed to translate foreign news media immediately, allowing for a wider lens of media perspective.
The Best Beginner Project’s first place project was Stance Check, which allows you to find a candidate’s political stance through Twitter.
Lastly, the winner of the Main Event was the same winner for startup. Globo took first place for its innovation and mission to further international collaboration in journalism, allowing us to look outside the confinement of a country's viewpoint. The hackathon ended without a hitch and successfully put another notch in all the participants’ belts.
Edited by Alexandra Sharp | email@example.com