24-hour Hackathon planned for Bierce Library

By Dylan Reynolds

Registration is currently open for the EXL Center’s first hackathon, set begin Friday, April 15, and continue until Saturday. The event, which will take place in Bierce Library, is formally known as the “FAIL SAFE 24-hour Hackathon.”

A hackathon is a collaborative event between computer programmers, graphic designers, and others in software and hardware development. EXL Center’s event is advertised as “a problem-solving revolution led by Akron’s hipsters, hustlers, hackers & wild cards.”

Computer programming skills are not required, as this is more of a “problem-solving workshop” than a traditional hackathon.

Over 24 hours beginning at 7 p.m. on April 15, participants will formulate collaborative ideas, which could potentially be developed into actual ventures in downtown Akron.

To start, participants will pitch ideas that they think could innovate Akron. Once everyone has made their pitch, the entire group will vote on the 20 best ideas, and participants will form teams around each remaining idea.

As these teams discuss the benefits and challenges of their respective ideas, they will be mentored by “some of Northeast Ohio’s most respected business minds,” according to the EXL Center’s website.

After several rounds, only the most innovative ideas and effective teams will remain. Throughout the event, participants will be thrown “curveballs” to test their composure under pressure. This is designed to simulate the obstacles that every new venture faces when starting up.

In the end, winning participants will walk away with a combined $3,000 in prize money.  Additional prizes include office space, professional development, and mentoring from local business professionals.

The FAIL SAFE 24-hour Hackathon is open to Akron-area students aged 16 and above. The event is entirely free, including food, beverage, materials, parking, and sleeping space.

Students can register up until April 10, either on the EXL Center’s website or at the EXL Center in Bierce Library 168. More information is available at uakron.edu/EXL/.