Saturday, November 26, 2022

RowdyHacks coding competition returns virtually for sixth year

RowdyHacks coding competition returns virtually for sixth year

MARCH 25, 2021 — The sixth annual RowdyHacks competition will be held online again this year from March 26-28. As the largest student-led hack-a-thon in southwest Texas, RowdyHacks brings together students from different majors, backgrounds and technical skill levels, building a community at UTSA where hackers can collaborate and support one another.

A hack-a-thon is a coding competition where students form teams and use data science technology and tools to create products in artificial intelligence, cyber security, cloud computing, and gaming. RowdyHacks, which is organized by the UTSA chapter of the Association for Computer Machinery, takes place over a 24-hour cycle. Students can form teams of up to four individuals and must build their product within the cycle’s time period.

“Code isn't just for computer scientists, it's for everyone.”

At the end of the 24 hours, students compete for prizes by demonstrating their creations. Participants not only enjoy the friendly competition, but they also learn new skills, resources, and create connections with industry professionals.

“RowdyHacks provides UTSA students and other participants across all disciplines and backgrounds with an intensive, problem-solving and programming experience outside the classroom,” says Jianwei Niu, interim academic director of the School of Data Science, associate dean of University College, and professor of computer science. “I am so excited to see how far RowdyHacks has grown over the past five years, and in particular, how they have successfully transitioned into a completely virtual event.”

Updates to the 2021 RowdyHacks competition include the use of Whova, a virtual event platform, to host the event. Organizers have also introduced a one-step registration process and have expanded the workshops and panels offered.

RowdyHacks is unique compared to other hack-a-thon events in that it provides three competitive categories: learners track, general track, and cybersecurity track. These different categories allow for all students to participate regardless of their experience in computer science. RowdyHacks organizers hope students can take what they've learned and share it with other communities that they're a part of.

“At the end of the day, that's what hacking really is: collaborating and supporting other people. Code isn't just for computer scientists, it's for everyone,” says Mark Robinson, assistant professor of practice in the Department of Computer Science and ACM faculty sponsor.

Last year, over 250 students participated, with prizes including a Sony PlayStation 4 bundle, a Google Nest Mini, Status Audio headphones, and Nanoleaf modular light panels. Products are judged by a panel of industry professionals and ACM organizers based on several criteria: UI/UX, originality, creativity, technical proficiency, innovation, and growth.

View the winning projects from the 2020 RowdyHacks competition:

⇒ Find out more about the 2021 RowdyHacks competition.


Register for the 2021 RowdyHacks competition. The deadline is March 27.

Those interested in being a mentor at the event should contact The deadline is March 26.

With a variety of competitive tracks to choose from and some amazing prizes in store, RowdyHacks allows students from all disciplines to learn more about computer science, all while enjoying the fun of a little competition.

Kelly Holguin

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