Hack Potsdam event this weekend brings programmers and coders together for collaborations
Friday, March 3, 2017 - 2:44 pm

POTSDAM -- More than 150 students from universities across the Northeast will compete in a computer programming event called Hack Potsdam on March 4 and 5.

The hackathon invites students, faculty and alumni to come together to share ideas, build projects and work collaboratively as a team. It is hosted by the Clarkson Open Source Institute (COSI) and SUNY Potsdam's Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Hack Potsdam begins at noon on Saturday, March 4, at Clarkson University's Student Center (#15 on the map at http://www.clarkson.edu/about/clarkson_map.pdf ).

Participants will form teams and decide what type of project to work on, such as web development, computer programming, and apps for Apple or Android devices.

"Hackathons are a success due to the innovation participants put into their projects," said Clarkson computer science student Benjamin Lannon '18, of East Syracuse, who is a Hack Potsdam event organizer and a COSI lab director. "From starting out with little experience and just an idea, participants can use these competitions to learn new technologies, meet great people, and be able to build products that can impact their communities."

Hack Potsdam was started by SUNY Potsdam's computer science club, ACM, in 2016. The hackathon has already opened doors for computer science students such as SUNY Potsdam's Garry Griggs '17, who is the vice president for ACM.

Griggs was recently offered a job as a software engineer for Assured Information Security (AIS). He attributes his early employment success to Hack Potsdam, where he built a central processing unit (CPU) during the 24-hour hackathon event last fall.

SUNY Potsdam computer science student Matthew Coupal '17, who is also ACM's secretary, said, "You’re not just in one department, doing one thing repetitively over and over. You’re engaging with people with diverse skill sets and with various backgrounds."

He added that having a hackathon on his resume shows future employers that, "I know how to work with a team, and I can work through conflicts very quickly."

The projects will be judged by a panel of alumni and retired professors from Clarkson and SUNY Potsdam based on four criteria: originality and creativity, technical aspects, design and execution, and presentation.

The hackathon is free and open to all college students, professors and alumni. Current students and alumni who have graduated within the past year are eligible to win prizes.

The event is held at Clarkson in the spring and at SUNY Potsdam in the fall.

To learn more about the hackathon, visit hackpotsdam.com.