UW hosts tenth annual Hack the North


Hack the North, Canada’s largest hackathon, hosted by UW on Sept. 15 to 17, gives hackers from around the world 36 hours to create a software or hardware project, either individually or in up to teams of four, from scratch. Participants spoke of how much they learned from the event, programming and otherwise.

Project submissions were due at 8:30 a.m. this morning, after which participants were able to relax and showcase their projects to the public.

A number of UW students participated in this year’s programming. It was the first in-person hackathon for 2A mechatronics engineering students Mahir Mahota and Vinesh Vivekanand, though Vivekanand had previously attended online hackathons. He noted that the technology and companies present at Hack the North were interesting to learn about. 

“The university and Hack the North definitely takes care of you when you’re here, so it definitely fosters creativity,” he added.

The event is open to students from around the world aged 13 and up. Successful applicants are partially reimbursed for their travels and provided food and accommodations to support their participation. Hack the North is attended by students of all skill levels, from high school students who just started learning how to code to university-level engineering students. 

Hack the North also taught students what goes into organizing a hackathon. Rajab Rehan, a second-year computer science student at Toronto Metropolitan University, was interested in the behind-the-scenes aspects of the event: “I went into [Hack the North] with the mindset of [wanting to learn] how I could organize my own hackathon. It’s been interesting to compare and contrast different hackathons [to] see what the best step forward is,” he said. 

Several high school students were also present at Hack the North. 

Brody Honigman Deltoff, a Grade 12 student from Toronto, reflected on his first hackathon: “Even though I didn’t get much sleep, it was a lot of fun just being in a community with like-minded people.” 

“It was a little bit outside of my comfort zone… but I’d definitely do it again and I’d recommend it to my friends as well,” Honigman Deltoff said.

Honigman Deltoff participated alongside Yair Landsman, who attends the same high school. It was their first time working on game development, and they enjoyed the large-scale environment of Hack the North. “We’ve done coding in high school before . . . but this is the most formal setting we’ve ever [coded] in so far,” Landsman said. 

After working on their game all of Saturday, the team is happy to rest. “It’s just great to see all these people working on what they enjoy, and embracing their passion — it’s very infectious,” Landsman concluded.

Winners for Hack the North 2023 will be announced on Sept. 18 at 4:00 p.m.