The University of California San Diego will host over 1,000 students at SD Hacks 2016 for 36 hours of technological collaboration from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 here on campus.
This will be the second time SD Hacks will take place at UC San Diego. The student-led hackathon is one of the largest in California, along with those of UC Berkeley and UCLA. After a successful inaugural hackathon in 2015, thousands of students from all over the world have applied to attend this year’s event.
“We had 3,000 applications in 2015,” said Yacoub Oulad Daoud, a third year computer science major at UC San Diego and one of the students heading up the event. “This year, we already have more. We expect to get over 4,000 applications.”
One of the reasons so many students are drawn to SD Hacks is that companies like Qualcomm, Viasat, Perkins Coie, SPAWAR and more will be present at the event to look for talent. Students know that San Diego is a dynamic, thriving innovation ecosystem, comprised of the world’s smartest companies, a talented and loyal workforce, top-tier universities, and easy access to international markets, Daoud said.
SD Hacks will provide extensive mentorship and resources in order to allow students to learn new skills that they can apply. For instance, the SD Hacks team is collaborating with the Virtual Reality Club at UC San Diego to plan a workshop and to create a unique space reserved for virtual reality development. The space will feature HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets, high performance computers and mentors both from the Virtual Reality Club and NanoVR, a UC San Diego startup.
“SD Hacks was a fantastic event for ViaSat. We were able to interact with over a thousand engineering students from all over the state,” says Nikolai Deveraux who works for ViaSat and serves on the CSE Alumni Board at UC San Diego.
SD Hacks 2015 had close to 80 completed projects, of which the most notable were given an award by industry judges for their complexity, functionality, innovation and design. The grand prize winners—UC San Diego students Chris Zelazo, Chet Lemon, and Kesav Mulakaluri created SNS Payments, a mobile application and phone accessory for making wireless payments. Current mobile phone payment systems like Apple Pay require the development of new infrastructure whereas SNS Payments was able to utilize existing retail equipment. The SNS Payments team used their knowledge across multiple disciplines to solve a real world problem. SD Hacks 2016 will aim to promote an even higher number of quality projects like SNS Payments.
The SD Hacks is supported by the Jacobs School of Engineering, the Computer Science department, the Office of Innovation and Commercialization, the Rady School of Management and Design Lab all support the effort.