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Pulling an all-nighter
Part frenzied study session and part late night party, the annual Introduction to Computer Science (CS50) hackathon drew hundreds of students for a 12-hour coding marathon.
Held in the Harvard Innovation Labs from Nov. 30 through the early morning hours of Dec. 1, the hackathon brought together students, teaching staff, and a production crew who filmed the fast-paced event.
In place of a final exam, students are challenged to create a final project, alone or in teams, using the coding skills they have acquired throughout the semester. As the hours ticked down to the final project deadline, students worked furiously into the night.
But the atmosphere at the hackathon was not what one would expect from a late night work session; rather the event featured tables lined with dinner, drinks, and sweets, blaring music, and a large photo booth.
“The TFs were cheering when we walked in,” said Malia Ellington, A.B. ’19, a human evolutionary biology concentrator.
In the midst of all the excitement, students got down to work.
Liam Fitzgerald, S.B. ’19, and Julie Ortiz, S.B. ’19, mechanical engineering concentrators, are collaborating on an app that lets pet owners in the Cambridge community find others to help with tasks like walking dogs. They hope to design user profile pages and develop a points system to reward distance dog-walked.
Freshman Guadalupe Jacobson-Peregrino is working on a website called “Cabot Connect.” Similar to a Snapchat map, the site allows students to find friends and study mates throughout Cabot Library in Harvard’s Science Center.
“CS50 is stressful and at times hard, but when you succeed you really feel you've succeeded,” Jacobsen-Peregrino said.
Gillian Meeks, A.B. ’20, human evolutionary biology concentrator, shared that sentiment. “I know I’ve learned a lot. CS50 is fun, but stressful, however you get enjoyment out of doing the work," she said.
The hackathon emphasized to Ana Olano that, more than fun and games, the lessons of CS50 can be applied to a wide range of different areas.
“The class has been a lot of fun, I have definitely acquired useful skills and now have a foundation I'm going to build on," said Olano, A.B. ’19, a physics concentrator.