PDS Computer Science Club Plans Virtual Hackathon

Reporting contributed by Arshaan Sayed & Jai Kasera, Secretary & Head of Hackathon Planning of the Computer Science Club

The PDS Hackathon — Organized by the CS Club

Over the past few years, computer science has become an integral part of the Princeton Day School community. Not only are there more courses and opportunities available, but the CS club has grown bigger than ever before. The club has hosted School participation in national computer-science-related events such as the Hour of Code, helps develop projects that enhance School programs such as the Senior Projects Website, and participates in competitions such as Zero Robotics and hackathons, and even organized their own hackathon, PantherHack. 

A hackathon is an event in which both beginner and advanced coders meet to build technical solutions to real-world problems. Under tight timelines, participants collaborate in small groups or individually to build games, websites or actual products that will be judged and have a chance to win awards. Hackathons typically last between 8-48 hours, and the competition entails a great deal more than the stereotypical isolated devotee staring at a screen with a steaming mug next to the keyboard. Hackathons include fun activities, educational workshops, catered food (when held at a venue rather than virtually!) and the opportunity to practice skills, collaborate and build networks with others interested in the computer science field.

Computer Science Club attends the 2019 Hackathon

At hackPHS, the most recent hackathon PDS students attended in person last year, participants enjoyed workshops such as an Intro to Arduino, along with gaming and puzzle tournaments like Spyfall. PDS students performed exceptionally well in this hackathon, with a group of Panthers winning the Best Cloud Hack and another PDS student winning the Best Domain registered with domain.com. Links to the projects appear at the end of this post.

As this year continues to require flexibility and creative problem-solving due to the pandemic, the CS Club plans to host its first ever online hackathon this spring. It will be open to high school students at PDS and around the world. 

Computer Science Club 2020 on Zoom

Lasting for 24 hours, the PDS hackathon will feature multiple workshops to explore topics in computer science, organized by our own CS Club members and professionals from universities and tech industries. Workshops will include Intro to Java, Python, and Web Development, among others. The spring hackathon will also hold various gaming sessions, such as the wildly popular Among Us, and chess tournaments to lighten the mood. In addition, the hackathon will award various prizes for both beginners and advanced coders designed to bring out the best in all participants.

“The CS club is super excited to be working on our first ever PDS hackathon. It is the biggest project we’ve ever tackled as a group, and it will be a lot of fun for the community,” President of the CS Club, Aaliyah Sayed explained.

Organizing this hackathon will require a great deal of planning, but the CS Club is ready to work on all of the planning details while also enjoying a year full of CS Club activities. PDS US students are encouraged to join the Club and have a blast while learning a ton of coding. 

https://devpost.com/software/maskker -- created by Jai Kasera, Akash Bhowmick, Navaneeth Rajan, Winston Ni

https://devpost.com/software/hungry-chef -- created by Arshaan Sayed

https://devpost.com/software/animating-stock-prices -- created by Shivani Manikandan, Jiale (Carol) Zhang, Brooke Lauer

Photos (from top): the CS Club Valentine Card Coding workshop in 2018; attending an event at Rowan University in 2019, 2020 CS Club members meeting via Zoom

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