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90 coders gather at Gwinnett hackathon to create innovative solutions to real-world problems

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA, October 29, 2021: Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology buzzed with activity on October 16, 2021, with over 90 participants coding away at the annual Hackathon event hosted by HackGwinnett. The event was open for high school students all across Metro Atlanta. The free event brought together high school students who learnt about technology in various workshops, collaborated and created projects on their own and with each other, and competed for prizes. Jeffrey Jacob, Amazon Software Development Engineer (SDE) presided as the chief guest and guest judge of the Hackathon.

Hackers were offered various technical workshops to pick from, prior to the Hackathon to aid in designing solutions. The task at hand was to build a solution specific to one of three topics, Public Safety, Health, and Philanthropy. With their prior knowledge and the skills acquired in the workshop(s), students chose to form teams or compete individually.

A hackathon is a competition for students to gather and create innovative solutions to real-world problems within a certain time constraint. Along with the hackathon, HackGwinnett features mentors, workshops, prizes, and strives to build an inclusive environment for individuals interested in technology.

Enthusiastic hackers chose to tackle the topics across 24 different teams with well over 700 hours of coding.

“My team and I wanted to start our own hackathon because we know how impactful these events can be for aspiring computer science students,” said Samarth Shridhar a high school student, part of the organizing team, which includes Rachna Rajesh, Hrishikesh Bagalkote, and John (Jack) Prewitt. The team worked hard to put together the event raising funds and marketing through social media, Instagram in particular. They raised funding through contacting several local and global companies for sponsorship possibilities.

The winning team created a chatbot that analyzed the sentiment of messages sent by users using Machine Learning to send Spotify playlists based on the message’s calculated emotion. For example, if the chatbot analyzed a message as happy, the user would receive a playlist filled with happy songs. More advanced emotions such as love were also included. The winning team consisted of two students from Northview High School, and one student from Collins Hill High School. 

“The biggest takeaway for me and my team is that students in Metro Atlanta are eager and passionate about learning computer science. All they need is an environment to learn and create with,” noted Shridhar.

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