Hack UCSC 2017


Welcome our keynote speaker: Ken Thompson

An American pioneer of Computer Science, he created the B programming language which laid foundation for the C programming language, as well as received a Turing award for his implementation of the UNIX operating system.


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Do you have an amazing idea for a future best-selling product? This is your time to shine.


Tech Cares

Are you passionate about what technology can do to help in your society? Look no further.



Thinking you could create the next big app? This category is sponsored by Pyze.



What's this about?

A hackathon is a coding marathon where teams comprised of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs work together to create apps and programs. It’s up to you and your team to come up with the most novel solution to the problems you see. No need to come to the event with an idea or a team. Founded in 2014 by Mark Adams, Doug Erickson, and Brent Haddad, this event has become the premier hackathon of the Central Coast.

Overnighter?: We wouldn't have it any other way - two overnight-mega-awesome-coding-slumber-parties coming your way: Friday and Saturday. You are welcome to bring your pillows and sleeping bags for overnight hacking. If you are under 18 years of age, a parent will be required to sign the Parental Consent Form.

Who can participate?

Mentors: aka non-students may assist student teams. Mentors typically have mad crazy skills in engineering, business, and/or design. Mentors can propose projects or slices of projects from their businesses or departments. If the team should win, mentors will NOT be entitled to any prize money or prizes. 

Hackers: Any currently enrolled student from high school though graduate school can compete. Teams can be formed at the event or beforehand (minimum of 2 persons, maximum of 5 - with up to an additional 2 Mentors. Example: 5 students + 2 Mentors = an amazing team!)

What are the basic rules?

Apps and product demos must be coded during the 2.5 day duration of the hackathon. This means no pre-written code may be used, other than open-source and stacks e.g., LAMP, MEAN, METEOR, etc. Participants can leave the event venue at any time and code elsewhere. All participants are required to use Github to prove that code written was indeed written during the event. Code authenticity (event generated) will only apply to the finalists. Pre-installed software (e.g., IDE's) is fine. There are no restrictions on coding languages used. Third party APIs and SDKs can be used.

~Hackathons are free, so why the entry fee?

Like all great events and good times, everything has a cost. You will receive 2.5 days of food, beverage, an awesome T-shirt, a chance to win amazing prizes, and ... a fun lifetime learning experience. Build your skills, be a hero, invent your future now! Talk to your school advisor if you aren't able to pay the fee. Or talk to us. Where there is a Will, there is a Way. Send us an email at hackucsc2017@gmail.com telling us a bit about yourself and why you'd like to attend this year's hackathon.

How is this event judged?

Judges from the Santa Cruz tech community will score projects on their relevance to the themes, technical merit, and idea novelty. Round 1: Teams will present to two judges who will pick one primary winner and a runner-up. Round 2: primary winner teams will present to all judges, and three (3) winning teams will be selected for each category (Innovation, Tech Cares, Mobile). Look at our judging criteria here. The winners will be announced at the Awards Dinner. The Awards Dinner audience will vote on a People's Choice winner. 


I would like to be a judge! How can I do that?

Stupendous! Our judges will be selected for each category. Ideally ... you have previous experience as a hackathon judge, and experience with tech. For more details, go to APPLY TO BE A JUDGE, complete the form. We will get back to you two (2) weeks prior to the event.

I would like to sponsor! How can I help out?

Fantastic! Go to APPLY TO SPONSOR (link coming soon) and check out our Sponsorship pamphlet for more information!

But what are the PRIZES!?

The prizes and awards for each Award Category are going to be announced in the next coming months. 

All awards & prizes, including cash, material goods, services, etc. are subject to change at the discretion of the Organizers.

What are our Terms & Conditions?

We have a few. For your reading pleasure: Terms & Conditions

Is there a social site for this event?

Yes. Like us on Facebook and Join our Facebook group to interact with other attendees

What are the categories?

Have you even looked through the website? You missed em, silly!

Use Slack! 

Join our Slack Group (link coming soon) - ask a staff member for an invite if you don't have @ucsc.edu address.

Have more questions? 

Feel free to contact the team: hackucsc2017@gmail.com


January 20, 2017

  • 7pm - Sponsor Setup. Special parking permits will be provided.
  • 8pm - Doors Open. Registration for all participants. Dinner will be provided.
  • 9:30pm - Opening Ceremonies
  • 10pm - Pitch Sessions, Q&A

January 21, 2017

  • 12am - HACK!
  • 7am - Breakfast
  • 12pm - Lunch
  • 6pm - Dinner
  • 10pm - Devpost submission deadline

January 22, 2017

  • 7am - Breakfast
  • 10am - Code Freeze
  • 11am - Closing Speakers, Lunch
  • 1pm - Round 1 Judging
  • 3pm - Round 2 Judging
  • 4:30pm - Winners Announced
  • 6pm - Awards Dinner