12:20 PM

Ohio State’s HackOHI/O expected to draw hundreds to build and innovate

The hackathon is a 24-hour marathon of coding creativity and collaboration

Students from The Ohio State University and schools across the Midwest are heading to Columbus to spend the weekend building novel technology apps, devices and projects.

HackOHI/O 2018, the university’s sixth annual 24-hour hackathon, starts on Saturday in the Ohio Union. More than 800 students will code, build and innovate around the clock.

Hackathons are technical project marathons where student teams go from idea to prototype in a single weekend, solving a problem or meeting a need in the marketplace. HackOHI/O is the largest in the state.

“This year we’re emphasizing to the students how this short-term event can be a launching pad for long-term entrepreneurial ambitions,” said Program Director Julia Armstrong. “And we’re encouraging projects that have real-world impact.”

She added that more freshmen and majors outside of computer science have signed up this year, which she attributes partly to partnership with the Ohio State Digital Flagship initiatives.

After 24 hours of “hacking,” the teams at HackOHI/O will present their ideas to fellow students, faculty and tech company representatives. Teams will be judged on categories including technical difficulty, creativity, usefulness and presentation.

Nearly 100 industry professionals interested in the talent and technology on display also are expected to attend the final showcase on Sunday, Oct. 28, when more than $10,000 in donated prizes will be awarded to the most innovative projects. The showcase is open to the public.

HackOHI/O 2018 is sponsored by Microsoft, Honda, JPMorgan Chase, AEP and rapidly growing Columbus startup Root Insurance, among others. Sponsors have the opportunity to pitch problem statements as challenges to student teams.

Engie, Ohio State’s energy partner, is issuing a Smart Campus challenge addressing the gamification of energy awareness and usage reduction for students and staff on campus.

JP Morgan Chase, a longtime supporter, is sponsoring the Best Hack for Disaster Relief and Recovery, focusing on communication to population, resource allocation and safety.