Amchi Mumbai! This was the first time Hack U India revisited a university: The previous Hack U at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay was a big success characteristic of a bollywood blockbuster.
Based on the success of the first event, we knew that this event would be much anticipated both by the crew and the students alike. True to expectations, even before we landed on campus, we had over 250 registrations. We knew we were in for an exciting weekend.
The Hack U kick off was at 5:30 pm at the FC Kohli Auditorium with a welcome note by Muthusamy Chelliah, Head of Academic Relations at Yahoo! Bangalore, followed by Professor Dhamani from IIT Bombay. Hari Vasudev, the VP of Platform Technology group at Yahoo!, kept the students engrossed by talking about Yahoo! Open strategy and Cloud platforms.
With the informative introduction talks over, it was time for the tech crew to take over. Arnab Nandi, our Hack U veteran, delivered "Hack 101 — An introduction to Hacking" to prepare the students.
YQL is always among the favorite topics of any Hack U, and this time I presented the talk on YQL, how YQL can be used as the Swiss Army knife for hacks.
The next morning I started off with a demo on how to tackle issues with OAuth. Natarajan Kannan, a My Yahoo! Engineer, then went on to present a talk on YUI libraries, another favorite topic at Hack U's. He spoke about how to build good visualizations and presentations using the YUI library with very minimal effort.
IIT B Hack U Hacking officially began at 1 pm. What impressed us was that the participants had thought through their ideas well in advance and were hacking away well through the night. Except for a couple of groups, there were no major hiccups or frustrations (sometimes seen during crunch hack hours). Every small success was celebrated. The students were proactively looking at various additional features and tweaks to their hacks whenever they found time or had a eureka moment. It was encouraging to see more than 50 participants actively hacking well past midnight.
Overall 30 hacks were registered and 22 of them were demoed. Check out the hack tracker for the list of hacks.
The winners were:
- Friends Circle - Best Social hack
- Jaago grahak Jaago - Best mobile app for a social cause
- Chat Normalizer - Using NLP to normalize short texts in chat
- RealChess - a multiplayer Chess Game
Other hacks that got a special mention for their completeness and creativity were Make my tutorial — a hack to compile data from various sources based on individual choice — and my personal favorite, Proximity Tracker — a hack that will remind a user about a task based on proximity to a service.
Overall the event was a great success, with fantastic participation by the students and enthusiastic Yahoo! Hack U crew. Big thanks to Jayasurian, Prajwal, and Prateek, who were all also part of the Technical crew who fielded questions and requests from the students. Thanks to Sanjay Mohan, Director YOS Engineering, for being part of the judging panel. The event was well organized and supported by the Hack U organizing team with Chelliah, Teenu, and Ruchika.
We all were really thrilled, when the young and smart brains at IIT-Bombay, cheered for Yahoo!, asking us to come back next year! That's the best response we could have gotten after conducting the event.