Left of center: Team Juke Box (3rd place) and Team Art (2nd place). Right of center, left to right: Team Scrum Board (1st place), Team Wifi Alibi (2nd place)

SFU students take top prize at Windows 10 hackathon

May 27, 2015

More than 40 burgeoning programmers put their coding skills to work on May 16, when they competed to design the best, most innovative app – in just 24-hours – at the IEEE Vancouver Windows 10 Hackathon.

SFU applied sciences students won first prize and tied in second place at the Burnaby campus event, which was co-sponsored by SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences and Microsoft. Students from schools across Metro Vancouver took part, including UBC, BCIT, Langara, the Art Institute of Vancouver, and Burnaby Mountain Secondary School.  

“The teams were tasked with creating an original app using many different Windows 10 features, and then implementing it in Visual Studio, a Microsoft development environment,” explains event organizer Stephen Makonin, an SFU computing science postdoctoral fellow and chair of the IEEE Vancouver Joint Computing Chapter.

“It was a particularly challenging hackathon because the teams were limited to just three people and most participants did not have prior experience programming Windows apps."  

The winning team of three SFU students hacked their way to the top spot with Scrum Board, an app that allows users to remotely collaborate on a virtual whiteboard using many different devices, including a phone, tablet or PC.

“The hackathon kept me on my toes as a programmer,” says winning team member Carmen Tang, a computer engineering student. “I learned fast debugging skills and the need for flexibility in problem solving and prioritizing features.” Although Tang has organized several Microsoft hackathons at SFU, this is the first time she was involved as a participant.

“Hackathons introduce you to different coding languages and new people, but they also push you to be creative and produce something to add to your resume or release to the marketplace,” she says. “You learn to pitch your app in front of industry reps and receive valuable feedback at the end of your implementation.”

Buoyed by this event’s success, the IEEE Joint Computing Chapter is planning a Cloud computing hackathon at the CLOUDCOM 2015 international conference, November 30 to December 3, 2015. Find out more about the chapter, here.