14th November 2011, 4:35pm
Crime stats uni guide wins top prize at student 'hackathon'
Students compete at the DevXS hackathon An unofficial university guide which lists local crime statistics, unemployment figures and rates of obesity alongside more traditional league table rankings won top prize at a unique computer programming marathon.

Around 200 of the country's most promising young software developers competed head-to-head in a three-day 'hackathon' to create the best new open source applications.

The DevXS student developer marathon was held at the University of Lincoln from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th November.

Students representing 37 different universities formed 26 teams to meet the challenge of 'mashing up' existing open source software and data to create exciting new web technologies which could improve university life for staff and students. Prizes worth 1,500 were on offer for the best creations.

The overall winner was the 'Unofficial University Guide', a web application devised by a team from the universities of St Andrews and Glasgow.

The UUG mixes information on student satisfaction, research standards and staffing levels from conventional university guides with official crime, health and economic data, so prospective students can make judgements about what life in a particular university town might be like.

Second prize went to 'Tasks for Chrome' - an extension for the Google Chrome web browser, which allows students to make simple to-do lists for the academic week, including library reading lists.  It was developed by a team from the University of York.

Third place went to 'Roominate', a Twitter-based room-finding service for the University of Lincoln campus, which provides directions to lecture halls and seminar rooms through a combination of Google Maps and internal floor plans. It was created by a team from the universities of Lincoln and Hull and the Open University.

Other notable entries included PriceSplitter, a web application that allows groups of people to record and settle joint expenditure, and Find It, an iPhone application which helps students organise events and find their way about a new town. Another project used university admissions data to reveal the disproportionately low number of women studying computer science.

Joss Winn, Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Educational Research and Development at the University of Lincoln, who helped to organise the event, said: "DevXS was the first event of its kind and by all accounts was a huge success. Students demonstrated incredible enthusiasm and commitment to working together on new applications which positively impact on Higher Education and university life. The judges were very impressed by the quality of the work done over the course of the weekend and some genuinely useful applications have been produced that I hope will be developed further. The organisers are keen to find ways to help sustain the work done at DevXS and also hope that this will become an annual event hosted by other universities across the UK."

DevXS was organised by the University of Lincoln and the JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) funded DevCSI (Developer Community Supporting Innovation) project. The University of Lincoln provided some of the funding through its Student as Producer project, which aims to give undergraduate students firsthand experience of real academic research.

For more information on DevXS, visit: http://devxs.org/
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