Every year, LA Hacks offers college students everything they need to work very hard for a short period of time on a coding project. Almost 40 sponsors come together yearly to provide space, sleeping rooms, panelist discussion and food to the hackers. At the same time, current industry experts mentor the students.
All this activity, which concluded on Sunday, leads to the creation of more than 150 projects in more than 15 categories.
Founded in 2013 by UCLA students, the hackathon is meant to encourage students who are newly interested in coding and to connect students with vendors who eventually could hire them. And many sponsor companies do end up hiring participants.
But the city of Los Angeles pays attention too. The Hot Meals app was named the city of LA's Best Civic Hack: The app connects homeless people with restaurants that can provide them with meals. L.A.’s homeless population, by some estimates, has risen to more than 45,000 people.
Other civic apps include an accessible congressional brief app, crime-tracking hot spot map and SUS, which won the Best Sustainability Hacks, a category created by the UCLA Green Initiative Fund. SUS uses data from the mayor’s office to create a hot spot map of areas needing increased community attention such as cleanup efforts.
Devpost, which hosts the hackathon along with UCLA, hosts several hackathons a month both online and in person.