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Computer science student organization wins top prize at Midwest hackathon

Anna Hartenbach | Apr 9, 2018
Hackathon
Members of the Ohio University Association of Computing Machinery gather before the competition begins (front row, L to R): Kerkkiat Chusap, Katie Baugher, Ani Sharma, Colton Smith, Austin Crabtree, John Robertson; (Back row, L to R) Rory Dunne, Daniels Jacques, Nathan Steadman, Micah Tobon, Kim Fisher, Aubree Dix.

Computer science student organization wins top prize at Midwest hackathon

Anna Hartenbach | Apr 9, 2018
Members of the Ohio University Association of Computing Machinery gather before the competition begins (front row, L to R): Kerkkiat Chusap, Katie Baugher, Ani Sharma, Colton Smith, Austin Crabtree, John Robertson; (Back row, L to R) Rory Dunne, Daniels Jacques, Nathan Steadman, Micah Tobon, Kim Fisher, Aubree Dix.
Members of the Ohio University Association of Computing Machinery gather before the competition begins (front row, L to R): Kerkkiat Chusap, Katie Baugher, Ani Sharma, Colton Smith, Austin Crabtree, John Robertson; (Back row, L to R) Rory Dunne, Daniels Jacques, Nathan Steadman, Micah Tobon, Kim Fisher, Aubree Dix.

Two of four computer science and electrical engineering student teams from Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology won prizes in March at a regional coding contest – with one team taking home top billing.

The 24-hour competition, RevolutionUC, held Sat.-Sun, March 3-4, at the University of Cincinnati, pit members of OHIO’s student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) against more than 300 other college and high school students in a weekend of coding, community, and self-improvement. The 12 OHIO students competed as four teams and took home two awards, one of them first place.

Award-winning seniors Austin Crabtree, a computer science major, and Kreerkkiat Chusap, an electrical engineering and computer science double major, participated in a digital version of capture the flag, where they were required to exploit system flaws for points, and won first place. Freshman computer science students Dan Jacques, Nathan Steadman and Micah Tobon designed a website that generated random questions, questionable facts and jokes, for which they won the “Best Useless Hack” award.

Steadman, Tobon and Jaques said the event taught them to work as a team in stressful circumstances.

“The best part is probably that we went in not knowing what we were going to do, and we decided to build a website,” the team said. “We knew nothing about HTML and JavaScript, so we taught ourselves along the way, and we ended up winning one of the competition categories.”

ACM president and senior computer science student Colton Smith said the event offered collaboration and bonding to members.

“This was the first time that most of our underclassmen have worked on larger projects with teammates and used technologies they had no previous experience in,” he said. “The trip especially helped these members feel more part of the club -- and much more comfortable with their ability going forward.”

David Juedes, chair of the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, said competitions encourage student growth and development.

“It was great to see our computer science students participate in RevoutionUC,” he said. “These types of events allow our students to compete against other students in meaningful ways, and demonstrate that we’re teaching them the right skills in our classes.” 

ACM co-hosts the annual fall International Collegiate Programming Contest with the Institute of  Electrical Electronics Engineers and now intends to include a spring hackathon activity as well.

Colleen Carow contributed to this story.