Students Organize University of Ottawa’s First Hackathon

by Joseph Czikk

Two software engineering students at the University of Ottawa are organizing the school’s first ever 24-hour Hackathon beginning on February 16.

Second-year student Antoine Grondin came up with the idea as a result of his frustrations stemming from an apparent lack of initiative among students at the school to create similar events.

“There’s little to prompt students to go out and do stuff like this,” said the 25-year-old. “So I thought if I make a coding competition at uOttawa people will find it easy to do it in their spare time.”

The coding competition will begin at 8pm and last until the following evening. 30 students will use artificial intelligence coding with software called “Robocode." Grondin is limiting the number of spots to 30 so he can note improvements to be made for the following Hackathon. The plan is to hold recurring events every month where any number of students can ideally join.

Grondin is receiving help from a fellow student and CEO of a local note sharing startup, Brenden Palmer. The 20-year-old software engineering student founded Noteshares in August of 2012 and will be sponsoring the Hackathon, providing coders with free stimulants like red bull and coffee, and prizes. The winning coder will likely be offered to intern at Noteshares during this coming summer.

Palmer said he decided to sponsor the event because it will have a positive effect on everyone involved including students and the greater University of Ottawa community. The networking aspect will be something special as well.

“I really think it’s great for the community because it encourages good talent to come together in one place,” said Palmer. “It encourages people to have fun and do what their good at.”

Noteshares is a social document-sharing platform that makes it “insanely easy” to share documents with friends and family. The Facebook-integrated platform allows users to set versatile privacy controls when sharing “binders," collections of documents, files or photos. Users can share these with exactly whom they want to and set various privacy controls for each class, binder or person.

The startup is still in public beta, boasting about 500 users who are sharing over 2,000 files. Palmer is hoping to see their user count rise to around 10,000 within three months as more students hear about the product.

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Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk

Joseph Czikk is a freelance reporter currently based in Montreal. more

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