Annual Hackathon Sets Record for Attendance

hackathon 2023 winners
Winners of the 2023 Hackathon

November 20, 2023
Computer Science Department

The Spokane region's growth as a technology hub had a positive impact on Gonzaga's annual Hackathon, a computer science event focused on innovative problem-solving held on Nov 4. Attendance grew 50% compared to last year to 124 participants from three colleges and four high schools.

Gonzaga's student chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) hosted the 12-hour competition at the PACCAR Center for Applied Science and the John and Joan Bollier Family Center for Integrated Science and Engineering.

Keynote speaker Max Dulin ('19, computer science) is a senior security engineer with Security Innovation and spoke on the day's goals of collaborative problem-solving and creative exploration.

duck flag
Our Flag Means Duck: Hackathon ducks serve as a tool for talking out a problem.
Other engineering and computer science professionals from Two Barrels, Limelyte, SEL, Ignite Northwest Tribe Media Lab, and Plug Power served as judges or mentors to the 27 teams. They provided invaluable guidance and support to all participants.

The event featured participants from various educational institutions, fostering collaboration and networking among students from different backgrounds from Gonzaga, Whitworth, and Spokane Falls Community College. High school attendees from Central Valley High School, Ferris High School, and North Central High School added a dynamic element to the hackathon, showcasing the commitment to engaging and inspiring the next generation of coders.


computer work
Students work on their Hackathon projects.

Financial supporters and donors, including the GU Computer Science department, Two Barrels, Biogas Engineering, Binx, Limelyte Tech Group, Sparks Weekend, Treasury4, Alliant, and Groq, played a crucial role in ensuring the success of the event.

Faculty Adviser Aaron Crandall, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, presented the awards for the top three projects, notable underclassman project, notable high school project, and Best IT Disaster Story. The event also featured side competitions, including an Asteroids Deluxe top score on an arcade machine and the Gonzaga 2023 Rock Paper Scissors tournament, adding extra fun to the festivities.

"I was very excited to see this event come together," said Dr. Crandall. "Every year it grows, and our impact on the greater Spokane region continues to increase. Not only are we engaging students outside of the classroom, but I'm very happy to see so many industry partners come and help our students with their projects. This kind of connection can be invaluable to the growth of the next generation of graduates, and I'm very pleased to help make it happen."

As the event concluded with resounding success, the organizers and participants are already looking forward to an even more significant and impactful Hackathon next fall.


rock paper scissors
Dr. Aaron Crandall (center) leads an early round of the Rock Paper Scissors tournament while judges work on choosing their Hackathon winners.


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