Array of Codes

Dozens attend annual Hackathon to learn and develop tech tools

Aadyant Suresh, Staff Writer

More than 77 students typed and worked away in the cafeteria developing tech tools for teens Sunday at the annual Hackathon, sponsored by the Bionic Bruins and the Branham Programming Club.

Attendees from around the district spent 12 hours working on ways that would aid students in their daily lives, from modeling a speech AI model to extensions for Canvas that utilize ChatGPT.

The event offered free entry, prizes, activities and workshops for attendees.

The event began with a workshop that taught web technologies to help students with their projects. The material taught ranged from more beginning-level material like an introduction to Python, as well as more advanced topics.

“We want to be beginner-friendly so people who aren’t in computer science that don’t know a lot about (it) are able to come and get started with us,” said senior Andrew Goldberg, the Hackathon director.

In addition to the workshops, students could get help from computer science teacher Steven Turner and other recent graduates.
Branham alumnus William Gardner returned to teach a workshop on the coding language Express, a popular web framework.

More than 77 raced Sunday to develop useful applications for teens.

The first Hackathon began in 2019 with alumnus Alex Goldberg, who sees a major benefit of the event in helping coders finish products in a timely manner.

“It really helps with procrastination because it forces you to sit down and put your ideas into code and build something really quick,” Alex Goldberg said.

Turner highlighted the value of the event to many of his own classes, particularly for those who are familiar with coding but hadn’t worked on a large project yet.

Westmont sophomore Yash Seth’s group worked on a speech AI model aimed at helping those learning a foreign language that detects and corrects them on their tone. Other groups focused on building a Canvas extension that connects to ChatGPT.

Seth said that the event is helping him network with others in the district.

“I hope I can make more friends, learn more things, and address upcoming challenges with coding,” Seth said.