The word of the week is “hackathon”—a gathering of thinkers, geeks, and artists for a jam-packed weekend of making dreams a reality.

The University will host its third annual hackathon, called “Dandyhacks,” on the weekend of Friday, April 1. Over the course of 36 hours, registered participants will form teams and congregate in Rettner Hall to start bringing their ideas to life. At the end of the three days, a panel of judges will decide on winning ideas, and winning teams will receive prizes. In addition to all of the tinkering and hacking,  the event will have a few sponsored meals, as well as some fun activities and games.

At hackathons, people hack, which may sound off-putting without knowing what hacking entails. Simply put, hacking involves taking existing technology and finding creative ways to use it for whatever it is you wish to accomplish.

The registration period for this particular hackathon is now closed. But, those who are interested in engineering and technology are encouraged to visit, if only to just pass through. There will be lots of creative and exciting projects to see, as well as a series of tech talks from some of Dandyhacks’ big name sponsors, including, but not limited to, 1010data, Factset, UR Data Science, UR Robotics, IEEE, Society of Women Engineers, and Engineers Without Borders.

If you have never been to a hackathon before and are attending Dandyhacks, here are a few helpful hints. The only costs you need to cover are for transportation and food (some meals and snacks will be provided). The hackathon itself is completely free. You should also bring a laptop and any equipment you may need to construct your project. If you are traveling from out of town, bring a sleeping bag—at some point you will need to sleep. Lastly, the only rules for this event are outlined in the Major League Hacking (MLH) Code of Conduct, which basically states that everyone should be respectful of everybody else. Other than that, you are limited only by your imagination.

“I signed up for Dandyhacks,” you might say, “but I don’t really have an idea for a project. What can I do?” Well, you have a couple of options. You can partner up with a team that already has an idea, or you can put a twist on one of the plethora of ideas found online.

The types of ideas that come out of hackathons at the University stretch far and wide. They are typically software-based; however, judges love seeing hardware projects, as well. Teams from years past have come up with ideas including a light-up LED staircase, a Reddit notification plugin for Chrome, and Internet chat services. The winners of last year’s RocHack built a social media website called Message in a Bottle (, which allows users to leave notes for each other to find based on GPS location.

Dandyhacks is the biggest and most eventful hackathon to come out of the UR. There will be 300 participants hailing from UR, RIT, universities in NYC, and even Canada. If you are a veteran hackathon-er or have never written a program in your life, join the event in Rettner Hall from April 1 through 3 to see what creative contraptions these teams will come up with. Visit for a complete schedule and additional information.

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