Student Competitions

Hackathon Season Stream Preempts Sunday Sports

At 2 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, January 18, you could settle down to watch American women's college basketball, catch part of the Southeastern Conference (Kentucky vs. Alabama) or cheer as Tobago and Trinidad take on Jamaica in the Super50 cricket tournament. Or you could tune into a livestream and watch thousands of college students pecking their way through Major League Hacking (MLH).

MLH is a student hackathon league that provides a structure for 70 student programming competitions based in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Participants build Web sites, applications and hardware code; try out new kinds of hardware; and show off their results to each other and vie for prizes.

The 2015 spring season kicks off in Philadelphia this weekend at Drexel University, where Dragon Hacks focuses on hardware hacking.

That will be followed by MHacks, hosted in the home town of the University of Michigan. On January 16 1,100 students culled from 7,500 applicants from around the world will arrive with sleeping bags, laptops and smartphones and get a chance to try out gear including Oculus Rift, Google Glass and Meta Spaceglasses, as well as more traditional computer and server hardware from MLH sponsor Dell.

That same weekend PennApps takes place in its 11th iteration. A thousand students will converge on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania for a 36-hour round of coding and learning. Although the university's engineering department carries most of the weight for the program, for the second time, the hackathon will allow students from engineering and medicine to team up as part of a health track.

Participants in both events pay nothing for their weekend; and in some cases the league organizers will cover the expenses related to students' hackathon-related travel.

The finals from Michigan and Pennsylvania will be shared in real time through the MLH site on Sunday. That livestream "will showcase the results of the largest gathering of student hackers ever, and all the amazing projects they are sure to be presenting," said MLH Commissioner Nick Quinlan. "We can't wait to show the world what our events are all about."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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