Computer scientists are invited to a 24-hour straight programming competition this Friday.
An education-focused organization, Apps4VA, is calling on Virginia Tech’s many computer aficionados to take on an opportunity to earn big bucks by developing an app.
They are calling for developers, coders and designers to see who can develop the most useful education-oriented apps based on a particular data catalog that Apps4VA provides.
The data system competitors will use — called the Virginia Longitudinal Data System — was created to aggregate data on the progress of students in Virginia’s public schools. It was created for the use of educators and policy makers.
Apps4VA is hosting the Hack-a-thon in five different locations across Virginia on Oct. 19.
Carole Ottenheimer, a senior research analyst for the Center for Innovative Technology has helped to organize the statewide event. She hopes the competition will spur more interest and creativity.
“We thought a Hack-a-thon, in addition to being fun, would be an effective way to get apps, to get the word out to the community, and just involve other people besides typical bureaucrats in getting data and thinking outside the box,” Ottenheimer said.
Additionally, the 24-hour nature of the event makes it unique.
“We’re not requiring people to stay there during the night, but we’ll be open during the night for people to continuously code,” Ottenheimer said. “Some people may choose to go get a couple hours of sleep.”
Apps4VA is looking for any kind of software application that uses at least one of the required datasets in their data catalog.
Participants can also create “mash-ups” that combine at least one of the required datasets with any others that are publicly available.
Blacksburg is one of five locations hosting the Hack-a-thon. The others will be in Charlottesville, Norfolk, Roanoke and Richmond, with each Hack-a-thon being simultaneously broadcasted to the others.
Registration is required, but can be done both online and on-site of the competition before it begins.
The grand prize, awarded to the best application created in the state, is $1,500. Each location will also be awarding a first prize of $750, as well as a “Hacker’s Choice” award of $250. Throughout the competition, smaller prizes will be awarded from sponsoring companies.
The Blacksburg division of the Hack-a-thon will be hosted at the facility for Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology in Collegiate Square, or ICAT. The event is free and participants will be provided with meals.
The Hack-a-thon host, Apps4VA, is a software application development program launched jointly by the CIT and the Virginia Department of Education.
Their mission is to develop and implement a data system that records the educational progress of Virginia students, following them from early childhood schooling all the way to graduate education.
The system also aims to link teachers and students, while still accounting for the privacy and confidentiality of the student.
Apps4VA will still be hosting an additional open competition, without time restraints, seeking the same submissions as required in the Hack-a-thon. Submissions are due by Nov. 15 online.
Winning app builders from that competition will earn substantially larger dollar amounts, with the first-prize
winner taking home $5,000.
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