Students to hack into the night

Teams of budding computer scientists, graphic designers and future venture capitalists will be typing away Thursday as part of USF’s Create-A-Bull Hackathon event. 

The event, hosted by the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), Microsoft Developers Network at USF (MSDN) and USF’s Management Information System program (MIS), challenges teams of up to four people to create an application in 24 hours. Apps can be for Android, iPhone, Windows Phone or the Internet. 

Teams are competing for first place spots in areas including Best Overall, Best Visual Design and Best Business Pitch, according to ACM president Hannah Pate. 

Pate said she encourages students who are not in the computer science program to compete, especially graphic designers and business students. 

“This year we tried to give a very broad topic, so we didn’t limit a lot of creativity on the students’ part,” she said. “We’re not expecting a lot of [applications] to be purely focused on USF or on education.”

She also said the competition is open to anyone with a university email address to verify they are a student, including students from other universities. 

The event is also open to graduate students and alumni, but only one is allowed per team. 

Pate said she hopes the Hackathon will grow into an annual event and plans for a second annual event in another semester. She said professional recruiters will be in attendance, as part of the aim of the event is to get participants exposure to employers and, perhaps, job offers. 

“We’re trying to get two annual events going. One will be Hackathon, which is more of a creative endeavor … and the second would be a programming competition,” she said.

According to Pate, representatives from the event’s sponsors will be present at the event, with the Hackathon marketed to sponsors as a potential recruiting event. Sponsors include Deloitte, a consulting company; Xcira, a producer of online auction software; and INTO, an organization for international students with a strong branch at USF. 

The Information System Decision Sciences Department within the Muma College of Business also helped organize the Hackathon, according to Pate.

She said representatives will also serve as judges at the competition’s closing Sunday. 

“The goal of the Hackathon is just to create something, anything. Just sit down and code something,” she said. 

The Hackathon will be held in the CIS building lobby from noon Saturday to noon Sunday. Food will be provided and prizes awarded to teams with the best applications.