RGU Hack – RGU Computing Society’s Annual Hackathon

Overall challenge winners, Team Leap Sign

Overall challenge winners, Team Leap Sign: Sophie Haynes, Scott Learmonth, Liam Stewart, Fraser Barclay

By The RGU Computing Society committee

The biggest event in the RGU Computing Society’s calendar is the Hackathon, a programming competition which took place over the Easter weekend for the third year running. Teams from across Scotland came to the Sir Ian Wood Building for a full 24 hours of coding challenges – sleep optional!

Our participants, in teams of four, had to complete a selection of coding tasks. The RGU sponsored challenge, to create an electronic attendance application for students, proved popular with teams. The other challenges included data visualisation, hardware innovation and creating something altruistic.

Setting up a Hackathon is aided greatly by Major League Hacking, an organisation who help run over 200 Hackathons worldwide each year. Their representative, Josh, was on hand to distribute some excellent tech for our teams to play with, as well as running a mini-challenge, Slideshow Karaoke – which was great practice for the Hack presentations the team had to make later!

Hackathon Picture

Hard at work

Aside from being mentally taxing, Hackathons are somewhat of an endurance event, with teams working late into the night. We were on hand to ensure the coders were fed and hydrated (and caffeinated!), and to provide mentoring.

The teams didn’t disappoint, with a fantastic array of entries across many computing disciplines. The technology used included Leap Motion sensors, Intel Galileo microcontrollers, QR code scanners, VR headsets and more. Judging was based on technical difficulty, originality, teamwork, and in one instance, best use of cats.

Congratulations to the overall challenge winners, Team Leap Sign (Sophie Haynes, Scott Learmonth, Liam Stewart and Fraser Barclay) for their sign language interpreter hack, and to RGU Attend (Serena Battistoni, Alessio Gadaleta, Lucy Pennington and Koni Watson) for their attendance scanner application.

Hackathon prizes

Hackathon prizes

Hackathons represent an amazing way for programmers of different experience levels to get together to develop their skills. It promotes interaction and friendly competition between universities. Silviya Tacheva, first year RGU student and runner up in the RGU attendance app challenge, said: “RGU Hack was a fantastic and inspiring experience. I met some lovely people, I learned new stuff, received some cool prizes and goodies and overall had a lot of fun. Definitely looking forward to the next year hack”.

The committee would like to thank our sponsors – Codify, Fifth Ring, Redgate, Baillie Gifford and Qcode – for helping to fund the event and providing mentoring, prizes and swag to our competitors. Thanks also to John Isaacs for being on hand throughout the weekend, Chrisina Jayne for sponsoring the RGU challenge and being part of the judging panel, and Josh for all the support he and MLH brought to our Hackathon. Here’s to next year