Students Host Second Annual ‘SD Hacks’ Hackathon

(Annie Liou)

Nearly 1,000 students attended the second annual SD Hacks, a 36-hour hackathon during which students from UCSD and around the country built a project from scratch and attended workshops on new topics and technologies. The event took place from September 30 to October 2 in the RIMAC arena.

Students who attended the event were able to work independently or in teams of up to four to create a project, which they then demonstrated at the end of the event at the expo. In addition, SD Hacks also provided workshops and panels throughout the weekend to supplement students’ knowledge and introduce them to useful topics. Student mentors helped particpating students with projects, and discussed a variety of subjects such as virtual reality and 3D printing.

“I think the SD Hacks is a great place to meet different kinds of people,” said UCSD senior Hao Tu. “We are able to work on projects, meet new students in our field, and network with other companies, which is generally good for your career and experience.”

Photo courtesy of Annie Liou.

The main floor of the hackathon housed around 1000 students (Annie Liou).

One team, comprised of UCSD students Sophie Vo, Jacqueline Clow, Hoaithi Dang, and Chris Reps, demonstrated the project which they created, a mobile app called Scriply, which allows users to keep track of their prescriptions and daily medication doses, at the expo. The app keeps track of the dosage for each person using the app, and dispenses the appropriate combination of medication for the user to take using a rotating disk.

“Overall, our team managed to create a viable proof of concept for a product that could facilitate the lives of many individuals who deal with difficulties related to prescription drugs,” wrote the Scriply team in their summary. “The system integrated both software and hardware to perform a task that is relatively nuanced for what can be built in 36 hours, and [we] learned much in doing so.”

This year’s event was directed by UCSD junior Yacoub Oulad Daoud, a Computer Science major in Warren College, who assisted in planning last year’s inaugural event.

Oulad Daoud and his team’s focus this year was to increase the number of resources and mentors at this year’s event compared to the previous hackathon. The team hoped to provide participants with even more learning and networking opportunities, one of the main goals of such events.

SD Hacks volunteers get hyped for another year (Annie Liou).

SD Hacks volunteers get hyped for another year (Annie Liou).

“In 2016, we moved to a better venue, added an insane amount of resources for VR and making, and we had more project submissions than last year,” said Oulad Daoud. “[I want to give a] huge thank you to the different groups in San Diego and UCSD that made it possible and especially to the students that spent their weekend with us.”

Current UCSD senior Ryan Hill came up with the idea for the hackathon in 2014, when he noticed a lack of hands-on opportunities within the engineering and computer science community.

“Students want university to be a hand-on experience, not just theory,” Hill said. “Students want to make things more than they want to indulge in academia, and they need more outlets to do it. I’m glad SD Hacks can be another opportunity to do just that.”

Maggie Robak is a News Writer for The Triton.