Local programmers shine in mobile app ‘hackathon’

Photo courtesy UH

Hawaii programmers demonstrated their technological prowess in this weekend’s third annual AT&T UH Mobile Tech Hackathon, held this year at Sacred Hearts Academy.

Each team created a mobile app for Android or iOS from conception to implementation, then had three minutes to present their finished app to the judges. Many of the participants were students.

Gov. David Ige, a graduate of the UH School of Engineering, made a repeat appearance as a judge. Todd Nacapuy, chief information officer for the state, and Mark Wong, City and County of Honolulu chief information officer, rounded out the judges panel.

“I’m very impressed once again by the talent and drive exhibited by these students who are solving our community’s problems through the development of these apps,” he said. “Through their technology skills, the students are working to improve the quality of life for the people of Hawaii, their communities, our state and the nation.”

“One of these participants could well be the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg.” – David Chin, University of Hawaii professor

The two-day event is designed for those interested in coding mobile apps or hacking hardware solutions. Members of Hawaii’s tech community were on hand to network with students and others interested in technology.

Team Micro Manager won the grand prize of $5,000 in gift cards. Team Push Box won $1,000. Team Data Dudes won $1,000 for Best Smart City Application. Two other teams won $500 and a final team won Harman Audio packages.

AT&T sponsors the hackathon. The goal is to create a sustainable environment for aspiring and seasoned developers to deploy a mobile app with a website backend that is fully hosted in the cloud. The event also aims to help entrepreneurs and startups build mobile apps.

“One of these participants could well be the next Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg,” said David Chin, professor and chair of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Hawaii, which is a co-sponsor. “With the high cost of doing business locally, we’re not going to be able to persuade existing tech companies to relocate to our islands. Our best bet is to grow our own entrepreneurs, people who grew up here and love the ʻaina, who will build the next Microsoft or Apple or Facebook right here in Hawaii.”

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