Online Hackathon comes to an end

Final round held after grueling elimination round


Sharp 0.1, the Inter-University Online Hackathon courtesy of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura (USJ), held its final round on 18 December 2020.


The elimination round of Sharp 0.1, which was the preliminary round, was successfully concluded with 500-plus participants on 11 December, after which a list of 30 contestants out of the unprecedented number of participants was finalised.


With the elimination round coming to an end this past weekend, we spoke to one of the organisers and USJ Association of Computer Science Assistant Secretary Dilmi Wijerathne who shared with us the nature of the event and how they hope to move forward now that they have seen the interest expressed by students to take part in such events even if it is online. The event rewards cash prizes of Rs.10, 000, Rs. 7000, and Rs. 5000 for the winner, first runner-up, and second runner-up, respectively.


The Department of Computer Science at USJ  is a large and growing department with undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and the Society of Computer Science is the official governing body of all student-related activities. It is a student-based society whose main objectives include promoting computer science as a subject, improving the knowledge of information technology among students, as well as encouraging students to participate in IT events and competitions while facilitating them to gain knowledge and experience from the industry.


Apart from this, Dilmi shared that the society conducts events, workshops, seminars, lectures, and field tours related to computer science, and also maintains a newsletter, website, and notice boards to encourage student ideas and creativity.


She said Hackathon, which is nothing new amongst those in the computer science sphere, holds its specialty in the fact that it is the first one to be conducted entirely online for their society. The event has been conceptualised on the grounds of providing not only for those in their own department, but all university students around the island who are currently at a crossroads. She said they hope to provide exposure and an opportunity to keep students’ skills sharp during these pandemic times where it can often be difficult to stay focused – hence, the title “sharp”.


Dilmi said the pandemic has been somewhat of a mix bag of experiences; considering there not being any physical lectures to attend to, they have had an abundance of time to take part in online classes, broaden their knowledge, and utilise their time quite well courtesy of the plethora of online courses that have been made available. However, pointing out that there is also a flip side where there is a great deal of uncertainty in not being able to go for lectures and not knowing how the timeline of their education at the university would pan out, she shared that this side of it has certainly been difficult.


Speaking about the event, Dilmi said they were most grateful for their sponsors and partners who made it possible to hold this event: Platinum sponsor Silverline Innovative Technologies, official main event partner Pearson Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd., official associate event partner SurfEdge (Pvt.) Ltd., and official media partner


Dilmi said that they are more than glad to announce that the competition has ended in a very competitive way and has been encouraging to know the event has the potential to grow into an annual event.