Newcomer duo wins HackWE challenge

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Windsor Star/Joel Boyce

Two first-year University of Windsor students, recently arrived from India, claimed the top prize Sunday at the second annual HackWE Code Jam event at the St. Clair College TD Student Success Centre.

The contest, which pits computer geniuses against the clock as they program apps and then present them to a panel of judges, was won by the team of Saurabh Joshi and Akshit Tripathi.

"The event was a tremendous success," said Irek Kusmierczyk of WEtech Alliance, the organizer of the event. "This is a tremendous platform for students to meet established tech professionals and executives, and build the kinds of personal relationships that can lead to landing a job or starting their own tech startups in Windsor and Essex."

The top HackWE teams will be mentored, and their apps polished up and submitted to the Energy Apps for Ontario contest recently launched by the government of Ontario with $50,000 in prize money. They will also be showcased during Techtoberfest on Oct. 29.

"We want nothing more than to see our young tech talent beating out Toronto, Waterloo and London to claim top prize in the energy apps contest," Kusmierczyk said. "That would put Windsor on the map as a player in the tech industry."

Windsor's HackWE event had four teams composed of students from St. Clair College and the University of Windsor working through the weekend to design and build web and mobile apps, while using the Province of Ontario's Green Button energy usage data harvested from residential smart meters.

Entrants arrived at the venue at 9 a.m. on Saturday, where they were assigned a facilitator and provided with instructions. Participants programmed apps throughout the night, with food provided.

They presented their finished product on Sunday afternoon to a judging panel that was made up of the executives and owners of four local IT companies.

Sponsors and partners include the WEtech Alliance, Hackforge, Daedas, the University of Windsor, the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, Red Piston, Alpha-KOR, Parallel 42, EnWin, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and St. Clair College.