2007 University Hack Day Season: Game On!

Hackers, hackers everywhere ... recently we've been in Bangalore for an Open Hack Day, in Sunnyvale for another quarterly internal Hack Day, and all across the USA, for the second season of University Hack Day.

View the University Hack Day intro

If you haven't heard about University Hack Day, here's a taste:

"University Hack Day is your chance to develop something that will revolutionize the industry, or at least make people laugh. (Yes, we're really that easy.) Oh and: yes, there are prizes. Adoration from your peers, huge recognition from top talent at Yahoo!, unique trophies and (of course!) tons of t-shirts, so you can put off that laundry run for yet another week."

Halfway through the season, here's what we've seen so far.

From Carnege-Mellon University:

  • Brian Krausz - Map Tag
  • Matt Thompson - flolcatr
  • Matt Thompson (again) - Demograph
  • Paul O'Shannessy - yWeather
  • Sam Hashemi and Steve Hillenii - Traffic

Winners: Demograph, Map Tag, and Traffic.

From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

  • Alex Lambert - Telescreen
  • Andy Ying - FlightTracker 2.0
  • Chad Weider - FlickrType
  • Cyrus Omar - Context
  • Emily Tse - Y! Contacts (Yahoo! Widget)
  • Greg Schechter, Ben Juang - University Search Widget
  • Rahul Mailk Kyle Millns, Adil Dhanani - Flava
  • Robert Boyce, Elizabeth Ford, Mo Kudeki, and Jessa Wang - Columbus
  • Sameer Sundresh, Justin Conroy, Andy Ying - Name My Job!
  • Steve Bezek - Personalized Digg Stories
  • Steven Kloder, Greg Schechter - Gas Maps: Pricing Your Road Trips
  • Suraj Samaranayake, Dave Alongi, Mike Barker - Mosaic
  • Will Duff - Pages
  • You Lin - Visual Del.icio.us

Winners: Pages--which we ought to just go ahead and put online in the YUI section--Telescreen, and FlightTracker.

Overall Impressions

From our man on the spot, Rasmus Lerdorf:

"The energy in the room was good. The Flickr API key distribution mechanism went down which was a slight speedbump for one hack, but the Flickr folks were quick to fix it. We also found an interesting race condition in YUI which we now have a workaround for. Alex discovered that 2147483648 is a special number, we debated fuel economy optimization strategies for the "Passing Gas" hack, stepped through cache management code, found out that not having name attributes on form fields makes MooTools flake out, and Rahul won the Faceball game. I had to bail at around 2:30am, but there were still 15 people in the room hacking away when I left. The spirit of Hack Day is alive and well at both CMU and UIUC!"

While UIUC is way out in front on sheer numbers, we're thrilled by the level of creativity shown by the CMU hackers. Flolcatr, in particular, seems like it might be a break-out success on the level of Mo Kakwan's Blabberizer, first seen at Open Hack Day in Sunnyvale.

Will UIUC's domination continue? Not if the hackers from UC Berkeley and Stanford have anything to say about it. We'll have updates after Stanford finishes up, early in the week of November 12th ... stay tuned!

Kent Brewster