Innovative creativity from dozens of college students stood on display as the ninth annual Middle Tennessee State University Computer Science HackMT wrapped up Sunday, Jan. 28.
Inventions from the tech whizzes included an extensive school search/college finder, helping prospective students and parents locate thousands of schools across the U.S., a child safety app and more.
The 36-hour Friday night to Sunday morning hackathon gathers programmers, software developers, visual designers and computer science students from MTSU and other colleges and professionals from local industry to form teams, inventing new web platforms, games and apps.
Computer Science associate professor Joshua Phillips, the event director, said “the intensity of all the teams” was evident. “Everyone was committed from start to finish. Industry people were surprised at how focused the teams were. Everyone made their projects and that was impressive.
“Working side by side with (industry) mentors is what makes this hackathon different from all the others.”
Top teams awarded
Out of the 10 competing teams, judges recognized BlueAid (first place), Team Big O (second) and CTRL Flow (third), plus Caffeine Coders Collective (Hackers’ Choice).
BlueAid developed a way to recognize if an itemized hospital bill might have overcharges. Team Big O discovered a way to compare different algorithm applications. CTRL Flow members created an architectural agnostic tracing library for emulators.
Senior Steven Dew, 21, a computer science major from Jackson, Tennessee, received the Computer Science Department HackMT Scholarship. He also has minors in math and data science.
‘Worked … until the very last minute’
Graduate student Adel Mahfooz, 34, of Dhaka, Bangladesh, who will earn his master’s degree in computer science in May, said the college finder project proved challenging. The 14-member team collected Google data from more than 6,800 colleges.
“We all had different roles and everyone was gathering data,” Mahfooz said. “It took us 27 hours to make it happen. We were trying to give the user a feel for the university they wanted.”
Mateo Lopez Moncaleano, 23, a computer science and physics double major who is minoring in Japanese, and his teammates created a game called Skylighter.
“It was a 2-D pixel platformer,” Moncaleano said. “We finished, but we could always add more. It had sound effects, a menu screen and pause screen. We added enemies and spies, a mini map, lights, an end goal and biomes. We worked on it until the very last minute.”
Event sponsors included Asurion, CAT Financial, Bondware and L3 Harris. Computer Science is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)