Nearly 300 students team up for weekend of hacking Oct. 2-4

Nearly 300 college students will work around the clock during VandyHacks Oct. 2-4. (Vanderbilt University)

Nearly 300 college students from Vanderbilt and Purdue universities, the Atlanta area, and North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park will work around the clock during VandyHacks, a hackathon, or invention marathon, beginning Friday evening on Oct. 2 and ending Sunday, Oct. 4.

Not to be confused with illegal and unauthorized programming, hacking in this context brings together programmers, designers, builders and more for an intense session of collaboration and innovation meant to produce real applications that others can use. Groups of students will team up to learn, build and share their creations over the course of a few days.

Students registered in advance to participate in the private event and registration is now closed. Meant to be a concentrated team-building and working session, the hackathon is not open for public attendance.

VandyHacks will be held in Vanderbilt’s Sarratt Student Center, where the students will eat, sleep and innovate through the weekend working on projects that will be presented during an expo at the center on Sunday afternoon.

The event has been entirely organized by Vanderbilt students with support from partners and sponsors, who also will provide mentors for the teams as they compete to be the first-, second- and third-place finishers. A panel of judges, including Vanderbilt professors and experts representing external organizations such as Make Nashville, will select the top three teams who each will receive a prize. Teams also can earn prizes through challenges issued by some of the corporate sponsors of VandyHacks. About $15,000 worth of prizes will be available to the top three teams and those competing in the corporate challenges, such as the one offered by event sponsor Capital One.

Teams will have the opportunity to win a prize for “Best Use of Capital One API (application program interface)” which challenges student teams to reimagine banking using real public-facing data – such as ATM and bank branch locations, along with mock customer account data.

Sponsors of the event include the Vanderbilt School of Engineering, BNY Mellon, Digital Reasoning, Capital One, AT&T, Yik Yak, Epic, VGT, Lexmark, LeanKit, Launch Tennessee, Digital Ocean, Eventbrite, Metova, Mercury, Lunar Lincoln and Sticker Mule.

Partners in the event are MLH – Major League Hacking, Devpost, Myo, Oculus, Hack Duke ’15 and Hack NC.

Founded in the spring of 2015, VandyHacks was the first collegiate hackathon to call Nashville home. This weekend’s event is the second VandyHacks and the expected number of student participants has doubled since the previous event in the spring.