Winter WonderHack Starts Tonight
Students from throughout the Midwest will be at Michigan Tech beginning tonight for Winter WonderHack, a 36-hour competition where participants use their knowledge and creativity to make something new.
The event is sponsored by the student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) in partnership with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Smash Club and Film Board, among others.
Winter WonderHack is officially sanctioned by Major League Hacking (MLH), the official student hackathon league.
According to MLH, each semester more than 50,000 developers, designers and makers compete for their school’s glory and bragging rights at more than 150 official hackathons in the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe.
Event organizer Mitch Davis says the goal of the weekend is to stimulate thinking and creativity.
“The definition of hacking is using something in a way it was not originally intended,” Davis explains. “For this reason, it’s crucial to think outside the box and look at technology in a way that nobody else has.”
He says they are expecting about 300 students from the Midwest and Canada.
MLH hackathons generally target students who are interested in programming, electronics and mechanics.
Fellow organizer Nathanial Shapiro says Winter WonderHack is designed to appeal to a wide-ranging audience. “While focused around technology, it’s designed to be open to people from many disciplines and all levels of experience,” he says. “Everyone is welcome; even the prize categories are generally neutral. The theme here is innovation and creativity."
While organizers are expecting the majority of participants to be current college students, MLH rules allow those who have graduated within the last 12 months to compete too. Shapiro says high school students may also participate with permission.
The event begins at 10 p.m. tonight, (Friday, February 12) with opening ceremonies and dinner. Hacking is set to begin at midnight, with events throughout the night and into the day Saturday. Closing ceremonies are scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Sunday.
Organizers hope to have time for technical talks with a few side events to break things up.
Among the highlights of the weekend will be a Tech Talk by Jeff Nyquist at 2 p.m. Saturday. Nyquist is founder of Neuro Trainer. Nyquist created a game that works with virtual reality to restore sight to people who are legally blind.
There will be a Super Smash Brothers Tournament at 3 p.m. Saturday, MLH’s Code in the Dark, 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s Closing Ceremony at 10:15 a.m.
The majority of the events will be held in the Opie and Van Pelt Library.
“Near the end, there will be a sort of expo where people will share what they’ve done, and judges will make the rounds,” Shapiro said.
He said representatives from MLH will be on hand to help run the event and should have some hardware to loan out.
Event sponsors include Target, Meridian Health Plan, Ford, ControlTec, Isaacson Engineering, Neuro Trainer, Jackson National Life, Arcelor Mittal, Epic Systems, TrustWave, Wireless Communications Enterprise, and the Humane Interface Design Enterprise. The sponsors will help competitors with their projects and have a say in the selection of winners, according to Davis.
For more information and to view a schedule, visit wwhack.org.