Hackathon: 48 hour project development

Photo Courtesy: KTVF/Andrew Hawkins
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) For the second year in a row, a Hackathon is being held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The event runs throughout the weekend. According to the President of the event, Ryan Stonebraker, a ‘Hackathon’ is a common name for this type of event. Universities and companies across the U.S. have hackathons dedicated to rapid prototyping of a project or idea.

“We’re trying to take that spirit but really focus on the educational aspect of it,” said Stonebraker. “To encourage people to learn new things, to network, to meet cool and interesting people at the event and broaden their horizons on what they can do.”

A Hackathon first took place last year at the UAF campus. It was Stonebraker, along with Tristan Van Cise, the event’s Vice President, that brought the Hackathon to Fairbanks.

“It started last year,” began Stonebraker. “Me and Tristan really wanted to host some sort of event where makers across the community could get together and build stuff. Since then, it spiraled into a much larger statewide event.”

This year, the event was partnered with the Alaska Developers Alliance. With the new partnership, the University of Alaska Anchorage and the Juneau Coworking Space are also participating. Van Cise says the Hackathon is a great opportunity to allow people to work with people with different majors.

“We wanted to foster an environment where students of multiple different disciplines,” started Van Cise; “be it art or hard sciences or engineering, they can come together and work as a team in an entrepreneurial setting.”

There are winners for the Hackathon, something that Van Cise says is hard to judge.

“We’re measuring the amount that they learned and the amount that they pushed themselves,” said Van Cise.

According to Stonebraker, the winner of last year was a Civil Engineer with no programming or electrical experience. Despite that, he was able to program and build an automated fish-feeding system.

“That captivates the experience we’re trying to provide,” started Stonebraker. “This really friendly educational environment where people can jump in and learn new things.”

Although most of the participants for this year are from the university, others are from the community.

Demonstrations on what has been developed and awards will be handed out Sunday starting at 5 p.m

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