Savvy techies await third Hack-MT Jan. 26-28

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"Furby MT," a project completed by an MTSU team in the Hack-MT event, earned the Hackers Choice Award in this February 2017 file photo. This year's third MTSU computer science hackathon event will be held Jan. 26-28 in the MTSU Science Building. (MTSU fi

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Entering a third year for the MTSU computer science-ran Hack-MT, department Chair Chrisila Pettey said "you never know what to expect" from the young collegiate minds planning to participate.

"I'm looking forward to seeing what they do," said Pettey. "It's always interesting projects (they create)."

More than 200 individuals representing 10-plus colleges and universities will be teaming up to invent new web platforms, mobile apps and electronic gadgets in this 36-hour event Jan. 26-28 in MTSU's Science Building.

The event gathers software developers, visual designers, programmers, computer science and computer information systems students from schools across the region.

As for Pettey, she heads into it "worried we won't have enough food and swag" for the participants, who will lose sleep and work night and day finding ways to make their creations work in order to catch the judges' attention.

She's also glad they moved the date up one week and away from Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 4).

Pettey said she anticipates participants arriving excited and ready to have fun. Veterans from the previous two events recall conquering jitters, especially from the novelty of the first year.

"People seem to be into it more," Pettey said. "The first year, people were cautious. In the second year, people realized how much fun others had the year before. Somebody has to experience it and go back and tell their peers."

As of early January, 130 MTSU students were registered among the 180-plus entries -- an increase from the same date in 2017. Online registration remains open at

Thanks to computer science alum Michael Murphy, the MTSU Jones College of Business computer information systems "will be well represented there," Pettey said. "He pushed it."

Participants' sign in begins at 5 p.m. Jan. 26, followed by dinner at 6 and opening ceremonies at 7 o'clock in the Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium. The public is invited to the judging portion at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 28 and closing ceremony at 11:30.

To find parking and the Science Building, a printable campus map is available at

Sponsors include Bondware Web Solutions, First Tennessee, CAT Financial and Jackson National Life Insurance Company.

Financially supportive "friends" of the event include SERVPRO, DecisionSource, Rutherford Works, axial Healthcare, Genesco and Eventbrite.

MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. Computer science is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments.

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