The SLO Hacks’ inaugural season ended at Firecode, their last hackathon, April 21. Computer science senior Joe Wijoyo and computer science junior Karen Kauffman took first place in all three hackathons, held each quarter throughout the year.
“It’s crazy, I mean, I just started doing hackathons this year and all I know is winning,” Kauffman said. “I have to thank my team members, it’s obviously always a group effort.”
Also on their team for the final hackathon was computer engineering junior Matthew Orgill, computer science junior Shelby Chen, computer science sophomore Spencer Gilson, computer science sophomore Gina Filangeri, and physics sophomore Barrett Lo.
SLO Hacks is a Cal Poly club that was formed this year, intended to build a hacking community on campus. Student coders competed for 24 hours in FireCode to develop unique applications to combat forest fires.
The winning team built an app that lists the locations of nearby shelters, first responders and hazards using data from bystander crowdsourcing app PulsePoint. They competed against five other teams with an average of seven student developers each.
The team won $500 to donate to a cause of their choice, six Google Home Minis and six $50 Amazon gift cards.
San Luis Obispo Fire Department Chief Garret Olson spoke to the 85 coders about the issues firefighters face and how they can save lives through technology.
“We don’t have a fire season anymore. We have a fire reality,” Olson said.
He added that there is an increased rate and damage of wildfires throughout the year due to drought conditions, climate change, and a high number of dead standing trees.
The hackathon was co-hosted by Workday, a software vendor whose chief technical officer is Joe Korngiebel, a 1994 math and computer alumni.
“You have the possibility here with the skills you learn at Cal Poly to make a difference like no else can,” Korngiebel said in his opening address.