IBM Watson to join 600 student hackers at HackPSU event Nov. 12-13

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State EdTech Network and the Center for Online Innovation in Learning will welcome nearly 600 student hackers to University Park for HackPSU. The 24-hour hackathon and kick-off event for Global Entrepreneurship Week at Penn State will be held Nov. 12-13 in the Business Building. The event is free and open to all undergraduate students from all universities.

Educational technology challenges provided for the hackers will be sponsored by partners of the Penn State EdTech Network. IBM, Brazen and Instructure will give participants the opportunity to work directly with their technology to explore solutions to real-world challenges in K-12 and higher education.

Rich Prewitt, chief test engineer at IBM Systems and on-campus IBMer at Penn State, said the IBM challenge will feature IBM Watson — a technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data.

“IBM Watson’s technology is helping to drive solutions around some of society’s most impactful issues, including cancer,” Prewitt said. “We look forward to the students at Penn State being able to utilize Watson Services to advance their knowledge of the technology while gaining insight into how business and societal challenges will be solved in the very near future.”

Jennifer Platt is a senior at Penn State pursuing a degree in electrical engineering and is one of the co-directors for HackPSU. Platt said the event is touted as being a learning-based hackathon, meaning students with all skill levels and backgrounds are welcome to register. Participants can also join in as virtual hackers if they are unable to make it to University Park.

“We will have the mobile telepresence robots [an iPad connected to a two-wheeled, self-balancing vehicle] at our event again this year to facilitate a new level of remote interaction,” Platt said. “The robots allow virtual hackers to explore the venue and interact with other students without being tethered to a laptop, giving them the full experience of being at the event.”

Teams participating in HackPSU will be able to choose their challenge and a winning team from each challenge will be selected by a judging panel. The overall 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place winners will receive $250, $150 and $100 gift cards, respectively.

For more information, visit HackPSU and the Penn State EdTech Network online.

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Last Updated November 08, 2016