Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Draw Anything and Win Hackathons with the Wolfram Language

After 36 hours, two math graduate students created Draw Anything, the grand prize–winning, Wolfram Cloud–powered app, at the MHacks V hackathon. We’ve written about Olivia Walch and Matt Jacobs’s winning iOS app before. Now, the pair of prize-winning Wolfram hackers have taken the time to talk with us about how they used the Wolfram Language and fast Fourier transforms to create step-by-step drawing guides for any input image—whether it’s a picture of Homer Simpson, a dog, yourself or your future dream car.

Draw Anything car demonstration

Matt shared how he was pretty new to coding before MHacks V. That was before Olivia, a web cartoonist who also studies mathematics, introduced him to hackathons and the Wolfram Language. They read our blog post about creating popular curves with Fourier series, and realized they could use the same idea to create drawing guides on the fly. The Wolfram Language, with built-in cloud technology and over 5,000 functions, proved perfect not only for bringing their hackathon idea to life but also, as Matt says, “for making it so easy to get in there and not be scared of programming.” Watch the video below as Olivia and Matt describe their journey to victory at MHacks V.

Since DrawAnything and MHacks V, Matt has continued to expand his programming abilities, while both Olivia and Matt have grabbed more hackathon prizes, including a trip to compete in Taiwan for HackNTU. And they have no doubts about keeping Wolfram technology at the top of their coding toolbox for future competitions.

Are you interested in doing a hackathon with Wolfram technology, need an idea or want to see some of the other winning hacks? Then visit this page to learn more about using Wolfram tech at hackathons.

Be sure to check out other Wolfram Language stories like Olivia and Matt’s on our Customer Stories pages.


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  1. I googled a bit. Olivia Walch has gotten her PhD and is now a postdoc at Michigan. Her PhD thesis is “Exploring subconscious vision and circadian rhythms through mathematical modeling”, which should soon be available. Her personal page at umich contains some fantastic animated GIFs and 3DP projects. There is an ojwalch page on Thingverse and a list of apps on Devpost. She understands the vital role of mathematics to communicate and visualize mathematical concepts. Brilliant. I can’t wait to see what students are inspired by her work and have their own Wolfram blog article in a few years. :)

  2. Not very often do you get to see a mash-up of computer science and art. I think it is really awesome to see wolfram helping to bridge that gap! I am very hopeful that we get to see more of this in the future!