Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Throwing the Hackathon Gauntlet with Some Friendly Team Coding

It’s no secret that Wolfram loves hackathons, or that our technology is ideally suited to the fast-paced, high-pressure environment of these events. We’ve supported and/or participated in HackIllinois, MHacks, LAHacks, and many other hackathons. Given how much fun those have been (and just because we can), we decided to host a hackathon for Wolfram staff, pitting our talented and driven developers against one another to see what kind of out-of-the-box projects they could create with our technologies. In truth, the spirit of camaraderie and collaboration that is central to Wolfram could not be set aside, and the final projects were the result of shared ideas and teamwork.


The rules were simple. Each person had to work on a project outside of their role at Wolfram, the project had to be a not-for-profit hack that fit the theme “Greater Good,” and it could only be completed using technologies available to the public.

The hackathon started at noon and ended at 11pm with a science fair-style showcase of the completed hacks. Some of the completed submissions included:

Poisonous or Not?
This hack created both an iPhone Cloud app and a website using Wolfram Programming Cloud, PHP, JavaScript, CSS, and HTML, highlighting specifically our new ImageIdentify functionality. This project allows a user to upload a picture of a plant and get a result (with probabilities) on if that plant is poisonous or not.

Poisonous or not

Data Drop and Node-RED
During a very recent trip to RoboUniverse, one developer was made aware of an open-source visual tool for the Internet of Things called Node-RED. He wanted to explore this tool and offer users a way to connect Wolfram technologies to their projects. So with this hack, he created a drag-and-drop component to allow users of Node-RED to connect to the Wolfram Data Drop.

Data Drop and Node-RED

3D Dexterity Assist
The Dexterity Assist is a 3D-printed object created to aid children using horseback riding as therapy. These children often need assistance with dexterity, and gripping the thin reins of a horse can be difficult for them. The team modeled, tweaked, and 3D-printed a cylindrical object inside which a horse’s reins could be inserted. Mathematica was used to create the 3D model, specifically ParametricPlot3D and DiscretizeRegion, and a MakerBot printed the objects.

3D Printer

Additional participants worked on tools and packages to increase productivity or make an impact for our internal development teams, several of which will remain ongoing explorations. Overall, the hackathon was a huge success for team building and produced some truly awesome results in a short period of time. We can’t wait to plan another!

Know of an upcoming hackathon we should participate in or that you want to use our technology for? Check out our hackathon page and let us know!


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  1. I’m interested in the NodeRed and Wolfram Data Drop component. Is it available publicly?