6 search results for "hackathon"

Local Youth Learn How to Use Technology for Social Good at “Hackathon”

Thafir Elzofri ’19

Thafir Elzofri ’19, at left, assists Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. participants in Beckham Hall.

On Feb. 24, Wesleyan hosted a “hackathon” for social good in collaboration with Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. The free event introduced more than 50 local children in grades 4 through 8 to technology and showed them how it could be used to create solutions that benefit nonprofit organizations. About half the children came from Middletown, while others came from as far away as Greenwich, Griswold and West Hartford to participate.

Seven Wesleyan students and two staff members served as volunteer mentors, working with the children to devise computer applications that addressed a range of problems facing local organizations. Five nonprofit social good organizations founded by Wesleyan students through the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship were the beneficiaries of these apps. Using MIT App Inventor, students learned the basics of app design, as well as the ideation and brainstorming process required to build a successful prototype mobile application.

Ahmed Badr ’20 gave a keynote address, in which he discussed Narratio, the platform he created for refugees to tell their stories.

Wesleyan Will Host Youth “Hackathon” for Social Good, Feb. 24

Wesleyan, in collaboration with Random Hacks of Kindness Jr., is hosting a “hackathon” for social good for students in grades 4 through 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24. This free event, to be held in Beckham Hall, will show local youth how technology can be used to create solutions that benefit nonprofit organizations. The hackathon is open to the public and requires no prior coding experience.

“Participants will be working with Wesleyan student mentors to create technology for social good,” explained Patrice Gans, president and executive director of Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. “By the end of the day we hope they will see how technology can have a positive impact on someone’s life.”

Student Programmers Compete in 48-Hour App Competition, Tech Bootcamp


Julian Applebaum ’13, co-founder of the Hackathon, presented at the Bootcamp on Sept. 6.

Experienced programmers and tech newbies alike gathered Sept. 5-7 for WesHack 2014, a two-part conference that included a daylong tech crash course for students, alumni and friends, and a 48-hour “Hackathon” app-development competition.

WesHack was founded in May 2013 by Julian Applebaum ’13, Evan Carmi ’13 and Anastasios Germanidis ’13, who, shortly before graduation, “decided Senior Week would be even more fun if they stayed awake for 36 hours writing software to solve the pressing problems of Wesleyan students,” according to the WesHack website. In fall 2013, WesHack 2.0—a second Wesleyan-themed Hackathon and day-long intro tech bootcamp for students and alumni—was organized by students with Instructional Media Services and the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. The dual-track approach was repeated this year, and the organizers hope to make it an annual event.

Applebaum, now a software engineer at Squarespace, the presenting sponsor of WesHack 2014, returned this year to present at the Bootcamp, along with about a dozen other recent alumni, students, and faculty. See all presenters here.

A team starts to map out ideas for their app on Sept. 5.

A team starts to map out ideas for their app on Sept. 5.

According to Makaela Kingsley ’98, director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, “There is an alumni affinity group called Digital Wesleyan that is extremely active, engaged, and supportive of students.” Some of the presenters came from that group, while others were people Kingsley has worked with over the past few years.

Seventy-three people attended the Bootcamp, which covered basic tech skills such as creating a website from scratch and graphic design and video production. Kingsley said most who attended had limited or no tech skills, though the event also drew students who are aces with hardware, highly-regarded bloggers, and those who have a background in one specific skill, such graphic design or data analysis.

Interactive WesPartyMap Team Wins Wesleyan Hackathon Challenge

Students work on their programs during the Wesleyan Hackathon. (Photo by Shannon Welch '14)

Students work on their programs during the Wesleyan Hackathon. (Photo by Shannon Welch ’14)

The 2nd Wesleyan Hackathon Challenge took place from noon on Friday, Sept. 6 until noon on Sunday, Sept. 8. Each participating team was provided a 1 GB Linode VPS on which to host their application, which must live and operate without using additional computing resources. While brainstorming and server maintenance were allowed before and after the allotted time slot, all code writing and editing had to take place within 48 hours.

A team of Wesleyan Computer Science alumni judged the submissions and named winners based on creativity (Does the app solve a problem in a novel way? Does it do something unique and new?), technical difficulty (How difficult was the implementation of the app?), and polish (Is the interface aesthetically pleasing? Is the user experience smooth and simple?). The team of judges consisted of Julian Applebaum ’13, a software engineer at Squarespace Inc.; Carlo Francisco ’11, a software engineer for Groupon; Evan Carmi ’13, a software engineer for Brewster; and Jonathan Lyons ’12, a software architect at Jaroop.

The winners were announced Monday morning. Sam Giagtzoglou ’16, Max Dietz ’16, and Jack Lashner ’16 comprised the winning team, creating WesPartyMap, an interactive map of where all the parties are happening on campus on any given weekend. This app was also determined to be the most creative app. The first runner up was HalfBagel, created by Tyler Harden ’17, Cumhur Korkut ’17, Wei Wang ’15, and Arthur Burkart ’14. HalfBagel offers a view of which rooms on campus are available as students decide where to live during GRS. This app won the judges’ vote for best design. The second runner up team of Aaron Plave ’15, Brian Gapinski ’14, and Justin Raymond ’14 created WesHappening, a live map that shows where all on campus events take place.

Read more about the event in this Wesleyan Argus article.

Applebaum ’13 Helps Internet Users Remain Anonymous

Julian Applebaum ’13, a computer science major, won honors for his thesis titled, “A Model of Outbound Client Behavior on the Tor Anonymity Network." (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Julian Applebaum ’13, a computer science major, won honors for his thesis titled, “A Model of Outbound Client Behavior on the Tor Anonymity Network.” (Photo by Olivia Drake)

If you’ve ever spent an evening looking up old flames on Facebook, shopping online and watching questionable YouTube videos, you may have wished there were a way to preserve your anonymity on the World Wide Web. It turns out there is a way; and a Wesleyan senior’s capstone work explored how to make that way faster and better.

Julian Applebaum ’13, a computer science major, spent the year working on a simulation of Tor, a global network run by volunteers, that allows internet users to remain anonymous. There is one problem: Tor is painfully slow.

His work attempts to simulate actual activity on the network as a way to test and improve Tor, by collecting a sample of data from the network and creating a mathematical model trained on the patterns he observed.

“If you’re looking for ways to make it run faster or that much more resilient, what you need is a good simulation of the network,” Applebaum said. “This is our own simulation, which we hope to show works better (than existing models).”

There’s a significant social-justice aspect to Tor, which isn’t just for average internet users, but could be critically important to activists and bloggers worldwide, many of whom may work in repressive societies and whose internet use is tracked by governments. For them, Web anonymity could mean the difference between freedom and jail.

“They may be able to hide their blog posts, but just the fact that they are on a blog could have serious consequences,” Applebaum said.

12 Students Compete in Wesleyan’s Senior Week Hackathon

Twelve students participated in the Senior Week Hackathon in Exley Science Center May 18-19. For 36 hours straight, the students worked in teams of four to create different web application products. The winning team was “WesMaps+.” Team members included Justin Raymond ’14, Tobias Butler ’13, Max Dietz ’16 and Anastasis Germanidis ’13. See their app online at: http://wesmapsplus.com/

Wesleyan computer science alumni Sam DeFabbia-Kane ’11, Carlo Francisco ’11, Micah Wylde ’12, and Ryan Gee ’11 judged the final apps on a scale of 1-11 in creativity, technical difficulty and polish. A video and photos of the Hackathon are below:

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The "WesMaps+" team included Justin Raymond '14, Tobias Butler '13, Max Dietz '16 and Anastasis Germanidis '13.

The winning team was “WesMaps+.” Team members included Justin Raymond ’14, Tobias Butler ’13, Max Dietz ’16 and Anastasis Germanidis ’13.