The Computer Science and Engineering Student Advisory Board will host its fourth annual CornHacks hackathon on Jan. 30-31.
CornHacks 2021 will begin at 11 a.m. Jan. 30 and should conclude by 1:30 p.m. Jan. 31. Organizers will also host an info session at 6 p.m. Jan. 29 for any participants who have questions or are seeking additional team members. The event is open to undergraduate students from all majors and universities.
Students will spend the weekend working together in small teams on a software or hardware project, which will be judged by a panel at the end of the hackathon on Jan. 29. Winners will qualify for a variety of prizes.
Hackathon organizer Cordell Rhoads said that although the event will be held in a virtual format this year, participants can expect the same opportunities to build innovative projects, attend workshops, participate in activities and meet industry sponsors.
“I think our team took a focused approach to crafting this year’s schedule,” Rhoads said. “We made sure to include a lot of exciting workshops, break times, and other fun activities so students can stay engaged and get a lot for the event — and that is on top of making their project.”
This year’s hackathon theme is “Looking Forward,” and will focus on innovation and creativity.
“In the light of last year’s events, we want to put a focus on driving society and technology forward into the future,” said Ethan Bütt, CornHacks organizer. “Our overall focus is on progression and improvement.”
The event will also feature three theme tracks: health, finance, and education. Students can submit projects for any of these tracks or choose to opt out of all of them and create a project of their own. Organizers say the main goal of CornHacks is to learn something new.
“The environment of CornHacks provides a level of encouragement and motivation that is hard to find on a regular day,” Bütt said. “CornHacks is a great opportunity for students to get a start on a project they’ve always wanted to complete, or give them practice and experience in a new tool, language, or other aspect of computer programming that they have been longing to learn.”
Participants will not only have the opportunity to develop new skills, but also learn from industry professionals.
Representatives from sponsoring companies — Kiewit, Turner Technologies, Union Pacific and Nelnet — will be available to advise and talk with students throughout the event.
“CornHacks is a great opportunity for connection,” Rhoads said. “Students can connect with other participants, sponsors, and even organizers while they work on their project. I would always encourage participants to make as many connections as they can. You never know who you can learn from, or what some connections might lead to later on.”
Rhoads and Bütt say that while the virtual aspect of the event has presented challenges, it’s also added several advantages, including the ability to participate remotely from home and across the country. They’re hopeful this year’s event will provide a unique and valuable experience for those participants.
“Our organizing team has put a lot of hard work into making CornHacks possible this year,” Bütt said. “We all know that a virtual hackathon is not ideal, but we believe we have put together an experience for the hackers that they will be sure to remember.”