On November 9-10, Villanova University College of Engineering hosted its first 24-hour Android Hackathon. Popular on college campuses nationwide, Techopedia.com defines a hackathon as “a gathering where programmers collaboratively code in an extreme manner over a short period of time.” Created and organized by Electrical and Computer Engineering Adjunct Professor EJ Dougherty III, Villanova’s Hackathon was designed as a fun and competitive event outside of the classroom where students could apply their technical and creative skills in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment. The only requirements were an awesome app idea, a little Android coding know-how, and the energy level to make an app a reality in one weekend.
Around noon on Saturday, more than 30 students from three local colleges—Villanova, LaSalle and Swarthmore— gathered in Villanova’s Center of Engineering Education and Research to form teams, pitch app ideas and draft project descriptions. On Sunday, after many students pulled all-nighters, projects were finalized and presented to a panel of academic and industry judges. Final Android mobile apps developed during the Hackathon included: A search for on-line streaming videos; an app to improve the efficiency of the restaurant ordering process; a student textbook exchange and auction; and an app to search satellite radio playlist history.
In addition to the College of Engineering, the ICE Center (Villanova’s Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship), Villanova School of Business, LaSalle University and engineers from Verizon Wireless all actively participated in the event. The Verizon Wireless team of mobile industry experts worked closely with each of the teams throughout the weekend. Ji Hoon Kim, one of the company’s engineers, enjoyed seeing students engage both their creative and technical sides: “They had some really interesting ideas and I was impressed with how they planned their apps prior to coding. The students also managed to maintain their enthusiasm, even when they ran into problems.”