Sleep is not on the schedule for many of the student hackers that competed in PennApps this weekend.
Many hackers arrived on Friday night to the three-day programming marathon in the Towne Building and immediately launched into hacker mode — and they did not stop until 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. Although many of the hackers fight sleep to work on their innovative projects, PennApps organizers provided 100 air mattresses in the basement of Education Commons.
“It’s hard to go straight for that long,” explained Brynn Claypoole, a co-director of past PennApps events. “Normally hackathons don’t have places to sleep — you have to sleep under the table,” she said.
Yet the thought of comfortable air mattresses isn’t always enough temptation for determined hackers.
“You do have to sleep a little,” admitted Brown University sophomore ChinYe Brawnis . “But I have really only slept three to five hours since Friday.”
“People will probably be up later if their projects aren’t working,” said Alex Wissmann, an M&T Junior and co-director of the event.
As the 9:30 a.m. ending time approached, Joe Farned, a Wharton sophomore working on a new way to present “boring” bank reports, didn’t think sleep was in the cards.
“I don’t think I’m going to sleep tonight,” Farned said around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. “We had an idea planned that we realized wasn’t what we wanted to do, [so] we have a lot of work to do.”
Yet even the most hard-working hacker has to stop for some food. PennApps, with the help of its sponsors, provided breakfast, lunch and dinner for its participants. In addition, event staff made late-night runs to Allegro’s and Insomnia Cookies for those hackers staying up into the early morning hours.
One hacker was craving some vegetables after all the pizza and pasta. “I wish they had food more conducive to sleeping and working through the night,” said Lehigh University senior Joshua Shaak. “I’ve been in and out of sleep since Friday,” he said, noting that he’d only napped for an hour and a half on Saturday, as well.
“At least they have Red Bull,” Shaak said.
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