At West Campus: They came to hack

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Y-Hack participants at Yale West Campus, one of the only places at Yale that had the capacity to host over 900 hundred students. (Photo by Philipp Arndt '16)

Yale West Campus sponsored the first official Hack-a-thon at Yale on Nov. 9. Students from public and private schools from the East and West coasts, Canada, and as far away as England spent 24 consecutive hours hacking — that is to say, modifying — various systems with the goal of developing new technologies.

About 1,000 technology-inspired students took up residence at the Administrative Building South (located at 410 West Campus Dr.) for the Y-Hack event.

The competition was organized by two student groups, Yale Boot Up and Yale CS Hacker Organization, with support and coordination by the West Campus administration and more than 50 company sponsors such as Google, Akamai, Clover, Amazon, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.

Students were placed into groups, each with a different “hacking” project — ranging from enhancing online tutors to advancing web search functions. At the end of the day, the groups gave final presentations and were judged on four criteria: innovation, technical talent, pitch, and popularity. Prizes were awarded to the top groups; first prize was a $10,000 cash reward.

This innovative spirit coincides with President Peter Salovey’s mission to advance entrepreneurship at Yale by growing student ventures and helping good ideas develop, note West Campus administrators, adding that the event is also in line with West Campus’ mission to foster innovation, revolutionary collaboration, and transformative work.

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