I couldn’t be more excited to share that Galileo is the title sponsor of this year’s HackTheU, which is on a fast pace to become one of the country’s premier collegiate hackathons.
Held this year, Oct. 27-28, at the Tower at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, HackTheU is expecting more than 400 extremely qualified college students from top computer science schools (including our own University of Utah, Berkeley, California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon and Columbia) to participate in the 24-hour coding marathon. And I’m honored to serve as HackTheU’s keynote speaker, along with my talented colleague and Galileo’s Lead Data Scientist, himself a University of Utah computer science graduate and a widely recognized expert in AI, one of the significant themes of this year’s event.
At HackTheU, the young coders will compete for cash and prizes in several exciting tracks, including: artificial intelligence, machine learning with coreML on iOS and FinX. There’s also an open track, where students can propose a cool project in an area that interests them. All these tracks are close to my heart, but I’m particularly excited about FinX. What’s FinX? Well, “Fin” stands for fintech and “X” for the excitement of exploring the unknown; that is, what the next generation of developers will bring to the ongoing revolution in financial technology. Students choosing the FinX track not only qualify for the best prize at HackTheU, they’re also preparing for the FinX Challenge. More about the FinX Challenge in a minute!
Although the competition and prizes are important, HackTheU is more than just another notch in the winning developers’ coding belts; the event has the potential to define the future for this cadre of extremely talented computer scientists. And, it’s an opportunity for all participants to learn about job opportunities, meet potential employers and, importantly, acquire mentors. Galileo will have 25 mentors, including myself, on site throughout the event. We’ll be there to distribute food, give advice and share our love of coding with an amazing group of young people. I feel so strongly about the importance of HackTheU that our title sponsorship commitment extends through 2020.
Now, back to the FinX Challenge.
HackTheU’s FinX track will be a springboard for Galileo’s own juried competition, the FinX Challenge. It’s not a hackathon but a multi-month challenge during which student developers will create a prototype of a creative new product or concept in fintech. This could involve cryptocurrency, peer-to-peer mobile transactions or incorporating machine learning to create new ways to identify worthy borrowers or fraudulent transactions.
Student coding teams will present their creations in March 2018 to a panel of judges, which will determine the winners. Galileo is contributing a $100,000 purse to make it worth the students’ time to let their imaginations run wild and create a more polished concept than they would normally be able to accomplish during a hackathon. For more information on the FinX Challenge, visit finxchallenge.com.
For a company that delivers the technology behind many of today’s exciting fintech companies, there’s little that’s more important to Galileo than encouraging the next generation of coders and fostering an early interest in applying their skills to the challenges that confront us in our increasingly technologically dependent society.
If you’re a college student interested in software development, I hope you’ll join us at this year’s exciting HackTheU as well as compete in the 2018 FinX Challenge. And, if you know a student who would be a great candidate to participate in either or both events, please pass along this information.
We’re excited to back both great events!
Clay Wilkes is the President and CEO of Salt Lake City-based Galileo Processing.