Engineers Receive Top Honors at PennApps

What could be produced in a room filled with nearly 200 students dedicated to remaining there for 48 hours? This semester's PennApps event provided one answer. The participants, some of whom traveled to Philadelphia from universities across the United States, were divided into 41 teams to participate in the two-day hackathon held in the Towne Building. Results were hacks for everything from to advising aspiring beer snobs to helping students pick their next semester's courses.

The Grand Prize, including $2500 and a trip to meet with Google NYC, was awarded to  µWave, a microwave that will play a YouTube video while the user waits for food to be heated, the hack being that the video will be highly rated and of the same duration as the time programmed into the microwave. The gadget will also text and tweet a user to tell them their food is done. Members of the winning team included Penngineers Kevin Conley, Teddy Zhang and Benjamin Shyong, all undergraduates in Electrical Engineering, and Varun Sampath, an undergraduate in Computer Engineering. “As an engineer, I want a career where I can build stuff that other people think is cool and maybe want to use — and that’s exactly what PennApps embodies,” Conley told the Daily Pennsylvanian.

The second place prize went to Class Grapher, a project designed by Wharton undergraduate Alex Rattray and Greg Terrono, an undergraduate in Computer Science. Class Grapher incorporates the information from Penn Course Review and displays it visually according to the categories of the user's choosing, such as difficulty or instructor quality.

PennApps is the University of Pennsylvania's bi-annual hackathon event where aspiring programmers team up over a weekend to build amazing applications. The event is sponsored by the Dining Philosophers, the University's computer science club. In addition to organizing PennApps, the group also hosts programming competitions for high-schoolers and helps to improve student-run technology at Penn.

Take a look at the full results of the hackathon here.