HackPSU offers new workshops featuring cybersecurity and machine learning

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — More than 600 college students from around the country will participate in HackPSU on Nov. 4-5 at the Westgate/IST Building on the Penn State University Park campus. The 24-hour educational hackathon encourages “hackers” to apply their skills, passion and drive to help solve real-world problems that universities and companies face on a daily basis.

Smith Sopp, director of HackPSU, is a junior at Penn State — majoring in computer engineering. Sopp has worked on HackPSU for the past three years, but said this semester’s event has some unique opportunities.

“There will be brand new workshop tracks in cybersecurity, machine learning and data science,” Sopp said. “We are also excited to bring competitors the opportunity to build projects interfacing with a Corvette provided by General Motors. There will be prizes for the challenges totaling more than $40,000.”

Brad Zdenek, innovation strategist for the Penn State EdTech Network — sponsor of one of the challenges — said they are asking hackers to develop a solution to a problem or frustration students may face in higher education.

“It could be anything from an inefficient process, poor communication platforms and roadblocks to learning or anything that can have a technological solution,” Zdenek said. “Those interested in the challenge can then apply their skills to design a technology-based solution to address that problem. HackPSU participants are students, they are likely already thinking about these issues — they are the ones holding onto the ideas for truly innovative solutions and we want to tap into that.”

Prizes for teams who compete in the EdTech Network Challenge include for first place: a $99 Amazon gift card, a one-hour webinar showing off the team’s solution to the Penn State community and dinner with Penn State EdTech leadership. The second-place team will win a $50 Amazon gift card, and the third-place team will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

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

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Last Updated October 25, 2017