a group photo of the HACK GT team at Georgia Tech 2017

We Can Hack That: Georgia Tech Takes First Place in Hackathon Competition

It’s been a grueling year, but Georgia Tech students have risen to the top of the Major League Hacking (MLH) ranks and have won 1st Place in the recently completed 2017 MLH Hackathon Season.

MLH is an international student hackathon league. Participating in sanctioned events throughout North America, student teams from across campus collectively competed in most of the 190 events held between August 2016 and July 2017. In all, more than 3,000 university and high school students participated in the North American MLH events.

Georgia Tech rose to the top of the MLH standings this season by earning the highest number of merit points and the second-highest number of participation points. Combined, these stats put them ahead of Rutgers University in second place and the University of Waterloo in third place.

Big Prize from Corporate Sponsors

Merit points are earned by submitting winning entries at sanctioned MLH hackathons. Teams are awarded participation points for sending teams to compete in events that require travel.

For the first-place finish, Georgia Tech received the MLH Season Trophy and $50,000 in equipment from competition sponsors Dell and Windows. HackGT – Georgia Tech’s student hackathon and computer science outreach organization – accepted the prizes on behalf of all Georgia Tech’s student hackathon teams.

“Winning the 2017 MLH Hackathon Season award is not solely an ode to the computer science outreach of HackGT, but to all of the Georgia Tech students who excelled at MLH sponsored Hackathons,” said Jordan Madison, HackGT director of communications and third-year computer science major.

Georgia Tech a Rising Star

“With the $50,000 in equipment, we will grow the pool of resources that we provide to our attendees; therefore, giving them more opportunities to bring even more ideas to fruition.”

Georgia Tech’s star has been on the rise in MLH competition. In 2013, Tech ranked 16th. In Spring 2016, teams rose to 6th place before earning the top spot in the 2017 season.

This upward trajectory is in no small part attributable to HackGT. Led by Shehmeer Jiwani (CS ’16) and Pavleen Thukral (CS ’16), Georgia Tech students started attending MLH hackathons around 2013. This resulted in the founding of the HackGT student club in 2014.

“HackGT’s mission is to empower the Georgia Tech community and others to utilize computer science as a tool to bring their ideas to life. Through our events, we give attendees the space and resources needed to achieve this goal and hopefully inspire them to continue to utilize computer science in their perspective fields of study,” said Madison.

The growing interest in hackathons on campus led Jiwani and Thukral to organize Georgia Tech’s first hackathon – known as Hackatech – which has since evolved into HackGT. The organization hosted its fourth hackathon, HackGT, in October. HackGT4: New Heights attracted more than 1,000 hackers from across North America to the three-day event.