Hackathon! Bullis Computer Programming Students Compete for Cookies

Computer programming may not typically generate high levels of drama and fun competition, but at Bullis’ first annual Hackathon both were clearly evident, along with plenty of smiles all around.

Intro to Computer Programming Teacher Alex Reinhardt created the first annual Bullis Hackathon, in which he invited students from his class and from AP Computer Science to compete along with other interested students. Students were challenged with writing code that would enable them to “hack into” the popular game Cookie Clicker, with the goal of playing the game better than a human would.

How could students optimize their clicks and the cookies they’d gather? Who could write the cleanest code? Who wouldn’t crumble under the pressure?

The winner at the end of the 10-minute challenge was sophomore Emily Zeng, the lone female among the dozen competitors who came away with the win after amassing more than 1 million cookies. For her prize, Emily won not only bragging rights over her male classmates but also 100 cookies from Mr. Reinhardt.

One of many new classes and activities that are part of the recently launched STEM program at Bullis, the Hackathon drew great interest and friendly competition and just may become another Bullis tradition.

Does your school do something similar?

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