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‘Supernerd’ event connects all kinds of ‘nerds’

Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 07:11

They meandered from booths in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) Ballroom that taught them how to pick locks to booths that let users play Cyber CTF, a hacker’s equivalent of Capture the Flag.

Both self-proclaimed “hardcore” and “casual” nerds flocked to the event, “Supernerd,” where Createch, a student organization of creative technology developers, sponsored the evening,   said Jovanna Williams, vice president of administration for Createch and a junior majoring in political science.

Six televisions with an array of game consoles, three poker tables and one Raspberry Pi — a $35, fully  functional computer in the form of a miniature motherboard that uses an SD card for memory and is powered through a standard phone charger — were other highlights of the evening.

The Whitehatters Computer Security Club, which managed the booths, hosted a competition in which points were assigned for completing Cyber CTF missions, as a leaderboard displayed participants progress on an overhead projector.

“In the simplest terms, we give (people) things to hack into, they break into it, extract a piece of information which allows us to verify they actually did it and then they bring it back to us,” Daniel Sweet, a junior majoring in computer engineering and a member of the Whitehatters Club said. “It’s like a big destructive puzzle.”

While Cyber CTF competitions are hosted for fun, Sweet said there is a secondary component to the competitions.

“The ultimate goal is security,” he said. “In order to know what you need to fix, you need to break it first.”

The Whitehatters used the Raspberry Pi to play a video in 1080p quality.

According to Raspberry Pi’s website, its product is produced by a charity that aims to bring cheap,  accessible, and programmable computers everywhere.

Other students clustered in groups around the TV screens to play all genres of video games from Marvel vs Capcom 3 to Mario Kart.

Luke McDermott, a junior majoring in psychology, said his favorite part of the event was the opportunity to play video games with like-minded people who enjoy the same things he does.

Ron Goldberg, a volunteer adviser for the Ner Tamid club on campus, said he found the l ;ock-picking booth to be the most informative.

“I’m a slow learner so I couldn’t really figure it out, but I had fun trying to pick the lock and it was one of the most interesting things here,” he said.

 

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