By: CJ Wiesenfeld | News  | 

YC Computer Science Dept. Hosts Hackathon

Yeshiva College hosted a workshop and hackathon featuring the company AdaCore on Feb. 15 in Furst Hall classroom 535.

According to its website, AdaCore “build[s] tools and provide[s] services that ease the complex and often difficult process of developing high-integrity software.” These tools and services serve several languages such as Ada, C and C++.

The hackathon took off with a crash course in which the Ada software engineers laid out the basics of the signature AdaCore programming language. After a coding exercise, students were introduced to the language on a deeper level, including its approach to type safety, arrays, stacks and functions. Finally, the students proceeded to the feature presentation of the hackathon — a debugging exercise with Ada’s Child language, SPARK.

By the time it ended, students had spent close to five hours gaining computer science skills and interacting with Ada software engineers.

YC Computer Science Chair Judah Diament explained, “The hope is that hosting Adacore would expose students to professional grade, secure, real-time and embedded systems development.” He also felt that the hackathon would be a great opportunity for students to “connect with professionals in an area of computer science that they otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to.”

Student impressions were positive. “The exposure that we got to Ada showed us that as new computer science students, it’s not difficult to pick up new skills as long as you know the basics. It showed us our potential,” said Aaron Bryer (YC ‘22).

Yehuda Goldfeder (YC ‘20) said, “The Adacore event was great. Not only did we get free swag, but we got to meet engineers from Adacore and learn a bit about what they do. It's great that the computer science department is working on having these events for us, and I hope it continues.”

The positive response went both ways. Rob Tice, an AdaCore software engineers, was impressed with the students. “Everyone was really engaged. I was really excited that everyone was so interested,” he told The Commentator.

The hackathon was part of YC’s larger effort to up its tech game. Other efforts included in this venture was the recent hiring of several new professors, the creation of two new specialized tracks, the instantiation of an industry advisory board consisting of leading professionals in the field and a sharp increase in tech events, including last semester’s Techucation.