HackU at IIT Madras – Lukewarm start to a red hot finish

HackU is a fun way to relive the college campus experience and each one of us look forward to these events. On March 29th to April 1st, we were at IIT Madras for the 3rd HackU in as many years.

Hack U

The event was inaugurated by Prof. Krishna Sivalingam of IIT Madras. Jeyandran Venugopal and Sudhir Anandrao from the Cloud Platforms Group, delivered an interesting keynote and talked about some of the key issues on the web where deep science and research can add a lot of value. Prof.P.Sreenivasa Kumar was so impressed by the session that he talked Jeyandran into providing a guest lecture on the semantic web and information / knowledge extraction to his students.

This followed by talks on various Yahoo! technologies and a primer on some basics to get the students started. We were surprised at a low turnout of students for some of the talks. But later realized that thanks to frequent visits to the campus, most of the students had a good understanding of the technologies and were already busy planning for their hacks.

The 24 hour countdown began at 1:00pm on 31st and the labs were buzzing with action. We also had a few teams from the nearby College of Engineering, Guindy and a few teams traveling all the way from IIT Hyderabad to participate in the event.


The hacks were judged by Prof. Ranjani Parthasarathy of CEG, Prof. Ravindran of IITM and Yahoos Thiru and Rajiv. Overall, there were 25 hacks that were demoed and the following took the top honours:

* Andro-Remote - For its X-factor / coolnes in controlling a system remotely using it as a keyboard / mouse for easy accessibility and as a game controller.

* Find Me Jars - A Developer Hack using an eclipse plugin to automatically identify dependencies during development.

* Android P2P Collaborator - Campus Cost Saver, where users can switch seamlessly between SIP / telecom networks.

* Heaven on Earth - Using virtual data to provide real recommendations on a place to live.

* Bloggezzia - A Science Hack that recommends tags for a blog post based on text similarity.

* Remind Me - The Crew's favorite use of Yahoo! technologies.

* Event Lost - Honorable mention for the herculean effort by this one man team.

The list of hacks are available on the hack tracker. Photos from the events are on Flickr. Slides from the various talks are on Slide Share.

A shout to the crew comprising of Anshu, Arun, Chelliah, Pradeep, Jayasurian, Siju, Sudhir, Sunil, for their all around help. Until the next event, Adieu.