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Chenyang (Eric) Liu is a 2nd year Computer Engineering major from Avon, CT currently enrolled in the dual MS/BS program. On campus he is one of three co-founders of HuskyHacks and is involved with Husky Ambassadors and the Northeastern University Symphony Orchestra. He is also an Honors Ambassador, first-year COE peer mentor and a member of the University Scholars Program. He is currently on his first co-op at Apple in Cupertino, CA.
Fueled by a rainbow assortment of Monster Energy, a month and a half of planning, and an amazing group of passionate hackers, Northeastern’s HuskyHacks 1 was quite a success. The first iteration of HuskyHacks took place during the weekend of April, 2nd, 2016. This event served as the testing grounds to demonstrate Northeastern’s need for a much larger hackathon. Within one week, we received an enormous 250 applications. However due to its young nature, HuskyHacks 1 was restricted to just 100 attendees. By the conclusion of the event, there were 17 submitted projects which can be found at huskyhacks.devpost.com. The winning projects included the following categories:
Best First Time Hack – “Pseudo-Segway Robot” a robot uses a 3-axis accelerometer wired to an Arduino to detect changes in height and angle to balance itself
Best Design – “The Hook” an SMS reminder application that uses human accountability to make sure that you complete the tasks you want.
Most Technically Challenging – “GPU NoSQL Database” a program that combines the advantages of GPU computing power and NoSQL databases
To those unfamiliar with what a hackathon is, a hackathon is essentially an invention marathon. A hackathon is a place for programmers, designers, builders and more to come together to learn, build, and share their creations over the course of a few days. A hackathon is an opportunity for students to push past the educational boundaries inside the classroom. Throughout the world, there are over 150 student run hackathons. This includes 50,000 annual participants, a number that continues to almost double each semester.
My colleague Jake Messner and I were first inspired to create a hackathon at Northeastern after attending five hackathons together around the country during the fall of 2015. This included trips to NYU, Cornell, BU, UC Berkeley, and Yale. After losing out on many important weekends of sleep ourselves, we realized that Northeastern would benefit immensely from such a sleep depriving event. We were lucky to also team up with Niousha Jafari who shared our passion and had experience with helping host HackBeanpot. The three of us, along with the help of Lashauna Walker and Doreen Hodgkin from CCIS, planned the event. This included calling restaurants, designing t-shirts, securing rooms, and much more.
After demonstrating the desire for Northeastern students to have a hackathon, we are continuing with plans to host HuskyHacks 2 in the fall. We are hoping to increase the size of the hackathon past the 100 people restriction. We also hope to invite not just Northeastern students but students from colleges all around the country as well. Our goal is to turn HuskyHacks into an annual staple event of Northeastern. Having such an event would provide enormous benefits to both Northeastern’s students and the school as a whole.