IBM BlueMix Hackathon Held at NC State

December 05, 2013

 

The second place team of Stephen Smith, Isaac Musick, Michael Conlon and Ian Chiles 
The second place team of Stephen Smith, Isaac Musick, Michael Conlon and Ian Chiles

In conjunction with IBM and the IBM jStart Team, NC State University helped to conduct a "hackathon" the weekend of November 8th and 9th to leverage student talent on IBM's next generation cloud platform, BlueMix. The hackathon allowed students from NC State University the opportunity to build applications quickly and easily on the BlueMix platform, while simultaneously providing IBM an opportunity to understand how developers might leverage, utilize, and rely on key services and capabilities that are built into the platform.

IBM's next generation XaaS/cloud platform, BlueMix is currently in a private beta phase for clients, and is actively being worked on by numerous organizations, teams, and groups within IBM. Leveraging Cloud Foundry, Open Stack, and Soft Layer technologies, as well as numerous IBM enterprise software applications, BlueMix represents yet another tool for businesses to rapidly develop cloud applications using available services and APIs enabling dynamic service composition, while also providing a marketplace for those applications and services. If you'd like to learn more about IBM BlueMix, visit its website at ibm.com/bluemix.

The second place team, comprised of Stephen Smith, Isaac Musick, Michael Conlon and Ian Chiles (a Computer Engineering major), is a group that is made up entirely of freshmen who competed against teams of mostly graduate students. They developed a realtime social media aggregator through the IBM's BlueMix, using Mongo and the social data sources in Facebook and Twitter.

The NC State University student chapters of the IEEE and the ACM/AITP organizations sponsored the event and seven teams of students competed to create the best BlueMix application. Ian Chiles, a student participant at the Hackathon noted, "I was not expecting to deploy my apps to be that easy. I just pushed out the Python apps and it worked. It was wonderful. It was a breeze to deploy our backend python workers using BlueMix." John Feller, a manager at IBM jStart--and the key organizer of the event--observed that "one of the main reasons for having this event was to introduce students to new technology coming out of IBM and have fun using it. This event also provides the opportunity to learn from the students so that we can continually improve our cloud platform offering."

Dr. Daniel Stancil talks with a fellow judge 
Dr. Daniel Stancil talks with a fellow judge

"It was great to hear all of the innovative ideas from the Hackathon participants. It was exciting to see how quickly the students could take their ideas and implement an application for it," John Feller explained. "When you work with students, you always learn something new."

Dr. Dan Stancil, Alcoa Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, served as a judged--and helped to make the event possible. "The close working relationship between IBM and NC State continues to provide invaluable opportunities for students to get real experience with emerging technologies," Dr. Stancil remarked.

Dr. Sarah Heckman, faculty advisor for ACM/AITP, and Dr. Leda Lunardi, Professor of electrical and computer engineering and IEEE NC State Chapter Faculty Advisor, worked to make the IBM BlueMix Hackathon possible.