Computer programmers kicked off the second annual DevFest on Saturday, starting a week-long development competition in which students code and create applications.
The student-run Application Development Initiative is hosting the competition, for which about 180 people registered online. The competition is open to high school, college, and graduate school students.
“We’re just all about building stuff and helping people to build stuff,” ADI board member Nathan Hwang, SEAS ’12, said.
The event started off with a 24-hour “hackathon” from Saturday to Sunday, during which students coded through the night, and will culminate in a “demofest” and competition for the best app next Saturday. App designers began by pitching their projects to other coders, who joined the designers with whom they wanted to work.
“I’m hoping that [the designers] think about the process over the next week,” and advance their skills in a “low-key, low-pressure environment,” Hwang said.
Preparation for the event varied among participants. While some students had just thought of their app ideas Saturday morning, others were at the final stages of design and promotion.
“In theory, this time is for us to make teams,” Shameek Bose, SIPA, said. “But in reality, it’s hard to find teams this quickly.”
Bose is designing a gaming application that would donate proceeds to non-governmental organizations working in developing countries. Bose said that his app is still in its “concept phase,” and that he came to DevFest looking for other interested coders, particularly to help him design the game itself.
“If all of our visions are aligned, I’d love to form a group … but we need a little bit of serendipity,” Bose said.
George Valdes, a student in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, is hoping to get other developers involved with his app, “Situity,” which would allow individuals to share places they have explored. People would check in at particular locations and then compare their urban area data with their friends’ data.
“We realized that there’s a crisis in architecture,” Valdes said. “The ambition is that the app will instigate you to go to more places or follow people who are very knowledgeable … It’s a tool, but it’s also a way to connect people in a physical way.”
For Michael Yan, SEAS ’15, DevFest is about experiencing what it means to design applications and code, something that he is interested in doing after graduation. He said he has never participated in a “hackathon” or a development competition before, adding that his goal is “not necessarily to build something life-changing, but really just to gain knowledge.”
“I’m just hoping to learn as much as possible, because this is a really great environment, and everyone here knows stuff that I don’t know,” he said.'