TroyHack challenges, educates students in technology

TroyHack challenged students to solve problems using technology over the course of three days.

TroyHack challenged students to solve problems using technology over the course of three days.

The Troy University Computer Science Club’s first Hackathon, TroyHack, took place Jan. 17-19 in Patterson Hall, tasking students interested in technology with a 32-hour time frame to create innovative virtual solutions to problems facing Trojans.

iBlink, a software program designed to translate Morse code from eye movement into technology commands, was created by Bikram Khanal, Neelabh Kshetry, Pradip Dhakal and Bishal Niroula, and won the Best Business Hack first prize.

“We learned machine learning techniques to detect eye vision, learned how to decipher the Morse code and how to work together in a team,” the team’s demo presentation explained.

TroyHack students pose in Patterson Hall.
TroyHack participants pose in Patterson Hall.

“It was an amazing experience, especially the first day where a lot of us were bringing out ideas and were brainstorming through the night,” Bishal Niroula said. “We didn’t expect to win the first prize at all. Except Bikram, all of us were new to the subject. He showed us how to do things and lead us every step of the way.”

Hackathons are designed for college-level computer programmers and related software developers to grow in experience and are often funded by software companies like CGI looking to recruit potential employees.

The web program building competition was judged by Travis Clinkscales, a 2017 TROY graduate and CGI consultant, who said the project was “extremely impressive to have done in the time allotted.”

 “TroyHack exceeded my expectations,” Nicolas Homsher, a junior computer science major from Montgomery, said. “I thought that it was a pretty insane idea that TROY could host one, since all I’ve heard about them were how large, expensive and time consuming they were to set up. In the end, the organizers were able to put together something that turned out to be an enjoyable learning experience.”

TroyHack taught students how to engage with one another to problem solve, innovate and sharpen the skills most are studying for their degree.

“I was exposed to new technologies that I had never heard of before, so that was useful,” Niroula said.

“Over the course of the weekend, I learned how to work with a team and incorporate graphics into my projects, two things that I have not done before,” Homsher said. “I was impressed with the results of my team, and am looking forward to future Hackathons, as I now know what to expect.”