Hacking away at the competition



Coding Pals and Error 404: Team Not Found won in their respective tiers. Coding Pals created an app showing DNA and bones. The second team translated ASL into text.

Coding Pals and Error 404: Team Not Found got first place in their respective tiers during the annual CrimsonCode Hackathon which took place Feb. 22 and 23. 

The hackathon was hosted by the Association for Computing Machinery. This was the eighth year the hackathon was hosted at WSU. 

Nikolaus Walton, a WSU junior majoring in computer science and director of the CrimsonCode Hackathon, said the hackathon is a 24-hour coding competition

There were about 300 participants who had registered for the event and around 75 teams that participated in the competition, he said. However, only 40 teams presented to the judges, Walton said.

There were participants from Pullman High School and Seattle Pacific University as well as WSU Pullman and WSU Tri-Cities, he said.

The teams were tasked with coding different things which included hardware based projects, apps and circuit boards, he said. 

There were four categories for the judging, Walton said. The first two categories included the level of technical difficulty and how polished each team was. The third category was based on originality and creativity. The fourth category was named wild factor which meant how innovative the team’s project was. 

Walton said the event took about seven months to plan. He said the association began planning the event in the fall.

The event cost about $10,000. The funds provided materials for the teams, Walton said. 

The event lasted two days. Most hackathons typically go over the weekend because software engineering takes a little longer than most people think, Walton said.

“It provided our participants with a space where they could stop worrying about school projects and focus on something they can put on their resume,” Walton said. 

Nadra Guizani, WSU clinical assistant professor for computer science and hackathon judge, said there were two tiers of the competition.

Guizani said tier one was for students that have not taken upper level courses in computer science. They are usually students in beginning classes such as CS 121 and CS 122. 

Groups that have at least two members in the class CS 222 or higher are in tier two, she said. This is because these classes provide students with more experience creating programs, Guizani said. 

Coding Pals placed first in tier one and Error 404: Team Not Found placed first in tier two, Guizani said. 

Coding Pals created an app for an augmented reality which showed how DNA is combined as well as visuals of bones in a skeleton, she said. 

Error 404: Team Not Found created a machine which had the ability to translate people signing American Sign Language and translate it into text,  Guizani said. This was done by signing in front of a camera where the machine would then translate it. 

“So if I was putting an “A” in ASL on the front of the camera, it will write the letter A [in text],” she said.  

The two teams won in their respective tiers by scoring high in completion and originality, she said. 

“We like to see apps that are helpful in terms of education or day-to-day usage,” Guizani said.