Sunday, April 12, 2015

Great Hackathon @UMassAmherst

This morning I visited the Hackathon at UMass Amherst, which is taking place April 11-12, 2015 at the stunning Integrated Learning Center.

The Hackathon is called HackUMass and is the largest hackathoon in the Pioneer Valley.

My husband and I were invited by Tom Kopec, who is an entrepreneur and a mentor to the hackers this year.

The host of this year's hackathon is the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship at the Isenberg School of Management, which is under the managing directorship of my colleague in the Department of Management, Professor Bill Wooldridge.

We enjoyed seeing the students. some of whom were bright-eyed whereas others were fast asleep (on the floor, on couches, or on their keyboards).

We enjoyed talking to some of the teams, including a team of students from multiple universities (I had to take a photo since I am a Brown U. grad), who have known each other since they were students at Wayland High School.
I loved the drone with parts built by a 3-D printer, which also was used to construct the statue of my colleague, who is serving as a judge later today, Professor David McLaughlin of the College of Engineering.

It was great to talk to Professor Wooldridge, who told me that he had slept in his office on an air mattress since he had to be available if there was an issue overnight.  That's the dedication of Isenberg faculty!

I look forward to hearing the results of the judging later today and the awarding of prizes. Given that 300 hackers showed up, according to Wooldridge,  and that there was even an entrant from USC, this was clearly a very successful event.

I was thrilled also to get t-shirst  from Professor Wooldridge!
I heard from Tom Kopec (in the above photo with me and Wooldridge) that last year's hackathon, which was hosted by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, had mostly hardware entries - this year,  about 75% of the projects are are software projects. I was also delighted to see female students om the mix.

Thanks to the sponsors - some of my favorite companies, where I have both former students and great colleagues from INFORMS working.