570 Hackers, 48 Hours, One NYU Hackathon

This year's NYU Hackathon is this weekend, from February 19-21.

NYU’s brightest minds will gather this weekend for HackNYU, this year’s global hackathon in which students, faculty, staff and alumni will spend 48 hours building and developing their own websites, apps or any other technology they choose. Participants based in the New York campus can join either online or at the Tandon School of Engineering, or the LaGuardia Co-op. The event will simultaneously take place at NYU’s Abu Dhabi and Shanghai campuses as well.

NYU IT employee and HackNYU organizer Sarth Desai hopes that the decision to make the hackathon global will encourage greater participation, networking and collaboration.

“NYU wants to foster a culture of innovation, creativity, design tinkering and collaboration at the global level, hence it hosts a global hackathon,” Desai said. “Events like this drive cross-pollination among schools and disciplines, allowing students to break down the silos and truly experience the diverse global community.”

Tandon junior Mahmoud Abugharbieh is excited about the global scale and participation of this year’s hackathon.

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“It is like a marathon of hacking,” Abugharbieh said. “Participants come together from all over the country and work on solutions for specific problems.”

This year, the competition has expanded into four categories — Educational Technology, Accessibility, Dental Technology and Sustainability — and participants create solutions to various challenges in these fields.

Desai said HackNYU is a way for students to both apply and enhance their skills through the formation of solutions to various challenges.

While participants register individually, teams are formed in the days leading up to the event and during the opening ceremony. In comparison to last year’s 440 participants, 570 individuals have already registered for this year’s hackathon as of Wednesday, Feb. 17.

HackNYU gives students an opportunity to turn their innovative tech ideas into a reality. Participants are given 48 hours to  design, code or brainstorm solutions to the problems addressed in each track. They can build a social media platform, an app for healthcare professionals or an educational website.

This year, HackNYU partnered with the NYU Ability Lab and the NYU College of Dentistry, adding Accessibility & Assistive Technology and Dental tracks.

Tandon senior and Chair of the NYU Student Technology and Research Committee Earl Co said the new tracks will allow for more creativity and innovation.

“Traditionally, HackNYU has focused on Educational Technology, which is staying this year with the Educational Technology & Student Life Track,” Co said. “We’ve also partnered with Design for America at NYU to host the Sustainability & Social Impact track.”

There are designated judges for each track, all of whom will watch each team present for five minutes. The judges will then determine the best three projects in each track. At the conclusion of the Hackathon, a winning team will be declared within each track.

“The winning projects at HackNYU 2016, will be able to apply for a C3 (Campus Coding Collaborative) Innovation Grant which cultivates opportunities for students by providing funds, tools and guidance to create new technologies to enhance the student experience at the University,” Desai said.

Abugharbieh hopes that this year’s hackathon will lead to increased innovation throughout the global NYU community.

“I feel like this hackathon will make a lot of changes in our innovation environment in NYU,” Abugharbieh said. “Making it [a] global hackathon helps us create a global network that fosters innovation and creativity.”

Email Greta Chevance at [email protected]

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