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Hackathon creates new software in just 36 hours

Picture of Centennial College students at the Hackathon event in July 2016

Six teams of Centennial College Software Engineering Technology students toiled for 36 hours to create new software applications as part of the college's latest "hackathon" held on July 7 and 8 at the Wearable, Interactive and Mobile Technology Access Centre (WIMTACH) at Progress Campus.

The participants were tasked with creating three distinct software apps in the allotted time:

Facebook Messenger Bot for Event Support Services is a bot capable of interacting with Facebook users to manage specials events, such as a conference or a concert. Users can ask for help, directions, event schedules, announcements and other services specific to the event. Students utilized Facebook's Bot For Messenger API and natural language processing to provide a productive and useful navigation flow. Students Harshil Mehta, Yashkumar Patel and Shivam Patel came up with the best app to win the category.

Facebook Messenger Bot for Emergency Services was created by students to analyze messages about an emergency sent by Facebook users and offer assistance. The user provides basic information about an emergency situation (for example, location, date/time, description), which the bot receives and analyzes for dissemination. Students Timothy Hitchcock, Raveena Tayal and Liavontsi Brechka made up the winning team.

Automatic Data Reorganization Filter is a critical tool students created to analyze and reorganize incoming data to match the format required by the processing system. Team members Omar Akbar, Manmohan Singh and Angad Soni created the best filter app in this category.

All of the students' solutions were scored based on functionality, modular design and creativity. Solutions were evaluated by a jury of engineers from CogniFrame Inc. and the research team from Centennial's WIMTACH. CogniFrame is a Toronto-based company offering machine-learning, intelligent data analytics and predictive platforms. CogniFrame algorithms help predict probability of outcomes using historical patterns coupled with new data. The firm focuses on lenders, educational institutions and event or location-based security services.

During the hackathon, two software engineers from CogniFrame were present and helped the teams with expert advice. The two-day event provided students with a great networking opportunity to connect with industry professionals. CogniFrame invited interested students to submit their resumés for potential job openings at the company. Centennial's next hackathon is scheduled to take place in September.