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BoilerMake returns with more programmers and more innovation


Five hundred programmers from across the U.S. and Canada descended upon Purdue University campus Oct. 17 to 19 for 36 hours of hardcore hacking.

Starting just before midnight Oct. 17 and working straight into the morning of Oct. 19, hundreds bleary-eyed hackers created new apps, programs, video games, software and code in just one weekend. Hackathons like BoilerMake test a programmer’s endurance – and caffeine intake – but it also offers a festive, collaborative atmosphere. Programmers often learn new skills that fuel new projects.

This event was the second BoilerMake. The first was held Feb. 7 to 9 at the France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center. The second BoilerMake had 100 more programmers and thousands more applications, according to Spencer Brown BoilerMake director and Computer Science sophomore.

Lambert Fieldhouse was buzzing as teams of programmers settled in on Friday night. Brainstorming sessions with whiteboards previewed hours and hours of programming and creating a new idea from scratch.

Brown and his team of fellow Computer Science students as well as students from Electronic and Computer Engineering took great care of the BoilerMake competitors with lots of food and caffeine throughout the weekend. Veteran hackathoners helped the new, and students from different majors and schools worked together to create new technology.

BoilerMaker asleep

One of many BoilerMake hackers that crashed out Sunday morning.

Numerous companies were on hand, too. PayPal, Qualcomm, Pebble, Apple and many more brought representatives to the event to have first crack at 500 talented programmers for internship and even job opportunities.

After 36 hours, the creations were displayed and judged. Winning submissions went away with thousands of dollars in prizes: iPad Minis, Apple Watches, Xbox Ones, Pebble smart watches, Parrot Drones, Playstation 4s and much more.

Among winning work was G-Zone, an iOS game set in outer space and created by Computer Science students Rishabh Saxena and Nikhil Mehta. The young hackers made an algorithm that controls a satellite’s movement around a planet from the touch of the user.

Fellow Computer Science students Vipal Nataraj, Andrew Ruberson, Zachary Simpson and Josh Foeh created a winning app for the Pebble smart watch. While it was a tough process, they made a PayPal-like system for Pebble users to wire each other money. Paybble uses the contacts list in your Pebble to make personal payments a breeze.

Brown announced the next BoilerMake will be held in 2015. A venue and date are yet to be determined.

Winning submission can be seen – and some sampled – here.

BoilerMake CS dudes

The team of (from left) Zachary Simpson, Andrew Ruberson, Josh Foeh and Vipul Nataraj created the BoilerMake award-winning Paybble, an app for Pebble Smart Watches that simplify payments to contacts.

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