Swarthmore Students Organize and Compete in Hack The TriCo

March 24-25, 2017, Bryn Mawr College: Small schools, big ideas. - Hack The TriCo, a tri-college hackathon, was held at Bryn Mawr College during the last weekend in March. 

The goal of the hackathon was to create an inclusive space for people of all backgrounds and majors to work on projects. Since the liberal arts are sometimes overlooked in the tech world, the hackathon gave students a chance to combine technical expertise with creativity, analytical skills, and interdisciplinary thinking. 

​There were over 130 registrants for Hack The TriCo, and the event brought together over 40 student attendees. 70% of the attendees were new to either hackathons or programming, so organizers strived to make the event beginner-friendly by holding an evening of workshops the night before and inviting people from companies like Google and professors from the tri-co CS departments to mentor. 

Jason Jin ('20) won first prize with his smart camera app, which turns pictures into interactive documents with links. The app allows users to take a photo of a document (e.g. flyer, business card) and record its information, without having to write or type by hand, making them directly interactive on their phone. Jason learned how to implement a Machine Learning Model and Library.

Michelle Kim ('20), David Chang ('20), and Riya Phillip (BMC), came in third place with an energy counter website, a user friendly interface which allows someone to log and analyze data from the various ways they use energy. They wanted to promote sustainability and smart choices for users. As a team, they were able to learn several new languages in just one day and created a fully functional website with 3 separate pages.

The event was led by Ellen Liu, a Swarthmore student, and Jocelyn Dunkley, a Bryn Mawr student. The two hope to make the hackathon an annual event, and plan to bring it to either Swarthmore or Haverford for the next time.