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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK; 64 hours of hacking, four hours of sleep

From Jan. 24-26, seniors Robert Eng and Matthew Lee and sophomores Aakash Thumaty and Spencer Yen participated in the Hacktech Hackathon at Cal Tech, an event in which students programmed nonstop for three days to create a project, like an app or game.

Yen, along with Thumaty, created an app that allows the user to stream music from one phone to another phone via Bluetooth.

This was Yen’s sixth hackathon, and his longest hackathon so far. Thumaty and Yen hacked for a combined 64 hours, and slept for only four hours in total.

“This one was the longest [hackathon] that I’ve been to and I was exhausted,” Yen said. “I only got three hours of sleep.” 

Eng and Lee worked on a project that included taking Wikipedia articles and generating trivia questions from them. 

The hackathon had about 1500 participants in total, including 30 other high schoolers from schools such as Monta Vista and Cupertino. The rest of the participants were college students from all over the country. 

“In the past six months, there’s been a huge college hackathon renaissance where a bunch of colleges decide to host huge hackathons,” Yen said.

The participants also got to meet founders of companies such as Snapchat, Tinder and Rap Genius. 

“I really enjoyed the experience of working with hundreds of college and startup founders to create amazing products,” Thumaty said.

Thumaty and Yen won second place for the Hackers Choice, an award in which participants, in addition to the judges, vote for the winner.

“By the end, you would expect us to feel tired, but we were still really excited that so many people like our app and we were ultimately kind of sad that it was all over,” Thumaty said.

Eng said that though he came back feeling “extremely sleepy and tired,” it was a memorable experience. He went home with free food, drinks, nine T-shirts, three pairs of sunglasses, stickers, two free web domains, a yoyo, an umbrella, five iPhone charger holders, a cup, a can of blue Red Bull, a can of rocket fuel and two pens.

“It was like going on an adventure to the unknown and coming back laden with the riches of free stuff,” Eng joked.

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