The IT club organized the second edition of the USIU-Africa Spring Hackathon, on Saturday, March 3 at the Science Center.

The hackathon which was sponsored by Africa's Talking and the Moringa School, attracted student technologists, programmers and network analysts, from 10 universities.

Students from Dedan Kimathi University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Laikipia University,KCA University, Riara University, St. Paul's University, Strathmore University, Technical University of Kenya, University of Nairobi ,USIU-Africa and Zetech University ran for seven hours and required two kinds of participation: creative software application development and a Capture The Flag network penetration testing competition.

The latter competition sufficed as a test of the participants' ability to find and use computer network vulnerabilities to acquire an obscured message, the flag. The former demanded an application of a combination of creative, context-driven thinking and sharp programming skills.

The theme of this year's event, Research to Market Challenge: ICT Supported Science and Technology Innovations for Africa's Development, made the hackathon rubric more colorable in that participants were required to conceive promising solutions in fields ranging from e-business and e-health to data-mining and the Internet of Things (IoT).

“A hackathon (otherwise termed codebrawl or codefest) is a social event that gathers technologists to engage in collaborative programming or hacking, and is often characterized by rigorous ad-hoc concept planning and development.”

Upon completion of the event's hacking activity, a team of panelists (School of Science and Technology Representative, Lochemem Bruno Michael, Africa’s Talking developer leads Calvin Karundu, David Afam Osemene and Steve Okwi, as well as Dr. Patrick Wamuyu (Assistant Professor of Information Systems) and Moringa School’s Ms. Betty Asava) evaluated the projectcentric presentations, and declared the project team from Dedan Kimathi University winners of the grueling seven-hour programming contest.

Their Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) application, typically built to interact with telecommunications service providers - dubbed LEJA - was predicated on providing simple ledger interactions for Small and Medium Enterprises.

Other podium winners, the Auto-Chem team from Dedan Kimathi University, and the USIU-Africa Google Home project team developed a smart pharmaceuticals directory and a voice-powered message sending utility for Google's Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistant respectively. Also awarded were the creators of the IoT-centric smart-farming project which monitors moisture levels in soil.

Standouts from the network hacking contest which included a Dedan-Kimathi University-USIU-Africa partnership and Riara University contingent.

The hackathon evoked a coalescence of ideas - it featured many ebullient individuals of debutant, intermediate, and modestly advanced disposition intent on showcasing their talents. Despite the rigors of the hackathon the most challenging of which are plan and personnel management under stringent time conditions, the participants were able to learn lessons and create blueprints for contextually-aware project enhancement.