Frenzy of creativity comes to a close as Olympics of student hacking winds up

 (Image via PENNAPPS Facebook)

(Image via PENNAPPS Facebook)

After 36 hours of near nonstop coding, the world’s largest student hackathon will wrap up Sunday in South Philadelphia.

PennApps, taking place in the Wells Fargo Center for the first time, is like the Olympics of student hacking. More than 2,000 coders, representing 30 countries and six continents, compete for prizes as everyone tries to build — from scratch — the most creative app or software or random new technology.

No one sleeps, choosing instead to work through the weekend, but PennApps director Pranav Ramabhadran said the mood come Sunday is always electric.

“You look around in every direction, there’s people who just in a few hours have gone from having nothing to, like, a very real project that does something,” said the 20-year old University of Pennsylvania junior. “And it is very inspiring, very exciting.”

The competition started Friday night, with coders breaking into small teams. Each is assigned a space on the concourse or the playing surface where they work to create new products. Judges will select winners on Sunday, starting at 2 p.m., an event that is open to the public.

Along with curious onlookers, talent scouts from major tech companies are likely to attend.

“There’s a lot of recruiters who come,” says Ramabhadran. “It is a great way to find people who are building very real things in a very short amount of time that are incredibly impressive.”

Comcast Corp. is the title sponsor for PennApps, now in its 12th edition. Penn’s College of Engineering and Applied Science also helps coordinate the biannual event.

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