February is a big month for the Computing community on campus, as it marks the biggest student-run computing event of the year – Queen’s annual 36-hour hackathon QHacks. QHacks was founded by a small group of students in 2016 and has since exploded into one of the most successful hackathons in North America and the largest student-run event outside of Orientation Week at Queen’s.
QHacks 2024 is set to take place February 2nd-4th. We asked Ethan Wang, the QHacks 2024 Marketing Officer, to describe what students can expect from the 2024 rendition of QHacks. Here’s what Ethan shared:
The 2024 edition of QHacks will prove to be the biggest hackathon Queen’s University has played host to in the post-pandemic era. With over 300 participants attending from throughout the country, this year’s event will have double the number of hackers compared to last year’s. Additionally, QHacks 2024 has garnered interest from several giants within the tech industry who are seeking to recruit students, with the likes of National Bank, Manulife, the Communications Security Establishment, and the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan all attending.
QHacks 2024 will also be the first time in 4 years that participants will be provided with hardware that they can use with their projects. The device in question is the Arduino board – an Italian open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software that is capable of taking in inputs and turning it into physical outputs.
For the past two years, the tech industry has been in the midst of a recession. As a result, companies have struggled to be able to fit funding for university clubs into their budgets. However, this year’s hackathon has received the most funding of any QHacks event since 2019, even trumping in-person events that were held in the pre-pandemic era.
Though QHacks 2024 itself is slated to run from February 2nd to 4th, there is an opportunity for participants to continue the hackathon experience right through the year. QHacks is one of only 50 university hackathons in North America that have been selected to send their winning team to Pinnacle 2024 – a hackathon hosted at the end of the year in the United States, where hackathon winners compete against each other in a final event.
As the date of QHacks 2024 approaches, Queen’s prepares to become a centre of creativity and learning, where prospective students come to showcase their abilities, and companies come to scout the talent and promote themselves. This year’s event is the best-funded rendition of QHacks’ annual tradition in half-a-decade, and the expectation is that it will be an unforgettable weekend.