You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Oct 6, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Barracuda's 24-hour 'Hackathon' will test U-M students' programming and stamina

By Ben Freed

More than 100 Michigan students will participate in Barracuda Networks’ 24-hour hackathon starting Friday evening at the computer science and engineering building in North Campus. The event will culminate with a final “tournament” on Saturday evening with the winner receiving more than $3,000 in cash and an offer to be a full-time software developer at Barracuda.


Barracuda will be offering jobs to the top performers at its hackathon that starts Friday.

Melanie Maxwell |

Director of new product initiatives Sean Heiney said a similar hackathon the company ran last year attracted about 60 programmers and was very well received. They’ve nearly doubled the participation this year thanks to word of mouth and a heavier marketing push.

“I don’t think you could be a U-Mich student and not seen an ad for our event if you’re connected to social media,” he said. “We had a lot of our registrants come through our social media and social network ads.”

In the contest, programmers will create “bots,” which is short for “web robots,” that will compete against each other in a game that Barracuda has created. These web robots are not physical robots, and will not be duking it out with each other Battlebot style.

The bots are software programs that that can be developed to perform different tasks and respond to various conditions. All of the action happens before the bots enter the game; once they are in there are no remote controls. The bots are designed and developed to be able to play the game with no added assistance from humans.

Heiney said the goal of the event is to identify the cream of the crop in the programming community at U-M and additionally to use the fun and engaging program as a way recruit top talent to Barracuda.

“These guys stay up all night long, drink red bull, geek out with each other, they have a great time,” he said. “We have some of our top programmers there, and they get a chance to see what our culture is and what life is like at Barracuda.”

Barracuda will be moving even closer to the university’s campus after closing a deal to lease office space on Maynard Street next to the old Borders building. The company expects to move into their new offices in November.

Ben Freed covers business for Reach him at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2


Ron Granger

Sat, Oct 6, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

Core Wars never gets old.