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What the cool kids are coding

You were maybe thinking that hacking is a bad thing, like those teenage criminals breaking into your credit card account? For the college kids, it has a whole different meaning—one that draws positive attention from the likes of Google, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, and Dropbox.

Those were among the sponsors of Y-Hack 2013, a Yalie-organized "hackathon" that drew about 1,000 students to Yale's West Campus this weekend for a 24-hour competition to conceive and code new tech solutions to problems that range from searching Facebook to communicating with homeless people.

Organizing the event was "amazing," Kevin Tan ’16 told the Yale Daily News: last year's Yale hackathon drew only about 35 people.

"With about 150 participants making the haul from Canada, a handful flying in from England, and hundreds more arriving from schools across the US," this year's competition—which ran from Friday evening to Saturday night—"adds one more event to the circuit of major college hackathons," Eliza Brooke ’13 writes in TechCrunch.

"A large part of the motivation to hold a major hackathon on campus is to build a brighter, more cohesive programming environment on Yale’s campus," Brooke reports. "Projects are fractured among the student body or limited to problem sets for class, said Frank Wu, a sophomore and one of the YHack organizers. As far as post-grad career choices go, working in tech is not high up on the list."

The top three winners got cash prizes and, perhaps even more valuable, the chance to demonstrate their hacks to corporate sponsors. Yalies took the top two prizes: Geoffrey Litt ’14 and Seth Thompson ’14 designed "Rainman," which "pulls up relevant Wikipedia articles on a sidebar next to news stories," the Yale Daily says. Sean Haufler ’14 won second place with “Lux,” which automatically changes the hue and brightness of fluorescent lights according to the time of day.

Filed under Y-Hack
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