Author Archives: lexstoep

Cambridge Hackathon 2018

Saturday January 20, right before Lent term starts, about 300 enthusiastic Hackers gather at 9 am in the Cambridge Corn Exchange to compete in Hack Cambridge Ternary – the 2018 edition of the Cambridge Hackathon. A long 24-hour period of brainstorming, discussing, snacking and above all, coding, is awaiting them.

The Cambridge Hackathon is a student-run coding competition where teams compete to create the most cutting-edge, creative, sophisticated, or amusing product. In the 24 hours, the participants have to come up with ideas, develop the concepts, put it all together, and give a presentation of their achievement. There are also various companies with mentors present to help all the Hackers with their problems. (Also, they give away tons of swag.) Despite the limited time, amazing products are made every year.

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View of an average table at the Hackathon

Queens’ was well represented at the Hackathon, CompScis from various years signed up for the event and developed some cool products. Aliyah, Jack, Jamie and Lorelyn developed an app which uses Microsoft Cognitive Services to scan payment receipt and summarise these for the user. Jirka and some others developed a system for Amazon’s Alexa which can tell jokes, store new jokes, and even rate your jokes! We (Lex and some others) developed a distributed system for fast and secure sharing of medical records.

 

During the 24-hour period, there are many points at which a Hacker can feel tired and hopeless, but pushing through results in some great products, which are definitely worth the struggle. All these great ideas were showcased on Sunday, the variety of which was mind-blowing. It covered body-controlled games, health applications, speech recognition, and many more.

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The showcase

The Cambridge Hackathon is a great way to meet new people, develop coding skills, but most importantly to have fun. I would personally recommend it to anyone who has done some coding and wants to have a great time!

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A CompSci meeting on communication

Let me introduce this post with a ‘joke’ on CompScis:

Q: How do you tell an introverted computer scientist from an extroverted computer scientist?

A: An extroverted computer scientist looks at your shoes when he talks to you.

Ha, ha, ha…

As CompScis supposedly have trouble communicating (an essential skill at any point in life), the second Part 1A meeting was on communication.

Just like last week, we were told to split up into two groups. Armed with a laptop each, the groups were put in separate rooms. Once we got our Skype connection set up (important detail: we had audio communication only) the instructions of the game were told.

Both groups were given a set of Lego which was not too complex, but involved more than just stacking 4×2 blocks. The instructions belonging to sets, however, were swapped. Now, the challenge was to build both of the Lego sets using audio communication only.

Surprisingly enough (not so much…), we did quite well building the Lego sets. The difficulty of the game was therefore increased by limiting the number of persons to touch the Lego in a group to one and that one person had to keep his eyes closed. The result:

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A fully working helicopter