'Brumhack': 24-hour computer challenge

Almost 50 students convened at the University of Birmingham’s School of Computer Science this weekend (25-26 October) for 24 hours of programming in a brand new competition supported by industry sponsors.

UK students travelled from across the country for the 'Brumhack', which forms part of a season of ‘hackdays’. Beginning at 12pm on Saturday 25 October, participants had 24 hours to launch their projects and bring their ideas to life. From new apps and social services to experimental work, the hackathon was designed to bring together enthusiastic students with professionals and experts.

Sponsors, which included Bloomberg, BrainTree, Harvey Nash, DataStax and a number of Birmingham-based tech companies such as Talis and Oxygen Startups, sent their own developers and staff along to offer advice and mentoring at the event.

Once the challenge concluded, teams each had two minutes to present and explain their work to a panel of judges from the sponsor companies who later awarded a number of prizes, whilst the whole audience voted for the winner of the Hackers’ Hack prize.

This year’s winners included “Guess the stats”, an app built on Bloomberg’s datasets for guessing statistics like populations of world countries, “Manic Mountain”, a 2D platform game with procedurally-generated world, and “A Betta Man” - a hack using Xbox Kinect to replace users faces on-screen with a picture of BrainTree developer evangelist Cristiano Betta.

The 'Hackers’ Hack' award was tied between “Chillin’ like a villain” - a joke service using Bloomberg’s data for finding areas with high unsolved crime rates for planning heists - and “Split Journey” - an app for solving the real-world problem of splitting petrol costs after car share journeys.

Jack Wearden, event organiser said: “We’re really pleased with the success of this weekend’s BrumHack. We had just under 50 students come along, with many others following on twitter, and a fantastic display of ideas at the end of the event. Hopefully we’ll have another BrumHack soon with even more participants!”

Brumhack was organised by Jack Wearden, Joel Hoskin and Sian Gooding, students from the School of Computer Science.