By GREGORY ZELLER //
Blockchain, NFTs and virtual reality will take center stage next month, when Stony Brook University’s Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology hosts its sixth-annual “Hack@CEWIT” hackathon.
Scheduled for Feb. 18-20, the fully remote event is expected to unite more than 300 regional hackers – the “brains of the future,” according to CEWIT – for hands-on tech talks and virtual workshops, all rolled into a three-day coding challenge with $5,000 in prizes in play, staked by industry sponsors.
The Center of Excellence is once again collaborating with Major League Hacking, an international league for student hackathons that has a hand in 200-plus annual multiday competitions, attracting upwards of 65,000 students. New York City-based MLH has worked on all six Hack@CEWIT events.
Former Symbol Technologies (now Zebra Technologies) Senior Vice President Satya Sharma, the CEWIT executive director, said the center was excited to host its annual hackathon “with our friends at Major League Hacking.”
“We are working with various student groups to make this one of the most exciting hackathons we’ve held yet,” Sharma said in a statement, adding the 2022 event’s theme – “Hacking the Metaverse,” a reference to the growing global network of virtual 3D environments – “should create some very interesting innovations.”
Organizers selected the metaverse (and its relationship with red-hot technologies like cryptocurrency and virtual/augmented reality) as the event’s theme specifically for its real-world applications – and the ability to beef up participants’ personal product portfolios with relevant material, according to CEWIT Lead Program Analyst Christopher Ryan.
“While every year we have great themes, this year’s topic … really touches on a subject that we are all seeing enter our daily lives in new and sometimes unexpected ways,” Ryan told Innovate Long Island. “Blockchain technology is still in its nascent phase and I think students will find great ways of including a range of blockchain technologies, such as [non-fungible tokens], into the metaverse and beyond.”
Students must pre-register for the three-day event, which is open to graduate and undergraduate U.S. collegians (including teams up to four). Corporate sponsorship opportunities are available; more info on sponsorships and registration available here.
“Virtual reality and augmented reality are at the forefront of technological development,” Ryan added. “I think we are all very excited to see what kind of innovations students come up with that can incorporate all of these themes together.”