MAYHEW — East Mississippi Community College’s Information Systems Technology department will host the “GT Hackathon: Solutions for Business and Industry” June 21-23 in the Lyceum Auditorium on the college’s Golden Triangle campus if a minimum of 50 participants register by June 12.
Hackathon participants will form ad-hoc teams to propose solutions to challenges faced by area businesses and industries. While professional programmers, database developers and user interface engineers are encouraged to attend, people from all disciplines and walks of life are needed for a successful hackathon, Sesser said.
“This is all about thinking creatively to find solutions to real-world problems,” EMCC IST Director Brandon Sesser said. “The more diverse group of people we have, the better solutions they will come up with. Teams who have members with knowledge of industrial maintenance, precision engineering or engineering, for example, may come up with an idea they may not have thought of without those people on board.”
In fact, no work experience is needed to participate and students age 15 and up are encouraged to attend. The cost of the three-day event is $25 for students and $50 for career professionals. Food will be provided.
Hackathon participants are encouraged to pre-register online at http://ciscoserver.eastms.edu/hackathon.htm so a head count can be tallied to ensure that the minimum number of people will attend. Payments can be made at the door and are not needed at the time of registration. Those who pre-register will be notified if the event is canceled.
The names of the first 100 people who register will be put in a drawing for an Oculus Go virtual reality headset.
While pre-registration is preferred, it is not required and walk-ins are welcome for the event that begins at noon on Friday, June 21, and runs until 5 p.m. Sunday, June 23.
“We will have people that will be here all weekend working on solutions to the problems,” Sesser said. “We won’t be providing overnight accommodations and they are welcome to leave at night and come back the next day or bring their sleeping bags and find a spot on the floor.”
If the needed number of people register for the hackathon, a Local Area Network (LAN) party that is free and open to the public will take place from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, June 22. There are no age restrictions for those who attend the LAN party, which will include PlayStation, Xbox and virtual reality games, as well as card and board games.
Area businesses and industries such as Steel Dynamics, Inc., and C Spire Data Center will pose problems for hackathon participants to solve. Attendees will choose which problem they would like to tackle and will work as a team with others who chose the same topic. They will also have the option of forming a team and coming up with their own problem to solve.
Some $1,500 in prizes will be awarded. Each member of the team that comes up with the winning solution will receive a virtual reality headset. Other prizes include concert tickets and high-end gaming graphics cards.
A guest appearance is tentatively planned Saturday, June 22, by Dr. Richard Stallman, an advocate for free distribution of software, who will speak from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Plans also call for micro sessions explaining EMCC’s various Career Technical and Manufacturing, Technology and Engineering Division programs.
“This will be a really great event and we are hoping enough people register,” Sesser said. “A lot of people are on summer break and vacation right now so we are not sure what to expect. If we are unable to get enough participants, we will reschedule it for the spring when our students are back on campus.”
Sponsors for the event are GT ComicCon, Howard Computers and EMCC Workforce and Community Services.
Questions about the hackathon can be sent by email to email@example.com.