AWS News Blog

AWS at the University Hacker Olympics

We were pleased to be able to sponsor the University Hacker Olympics event earlier this year. Held in San Francisco, the event attracted 100 student scholars from 25 universities. The students competed for a chance to win over $150,000 in travel and other prizes. As a platium sponsor, we provided AWS credits to all contestants, along with additional benefits for the winners. We also sent a team of AWS engineers to help the teams architect their applications. The students were happy to have this opportunity to work closely with their AWS mentors.

The student scholars were excited about AWS technology right from the start and a majority of the hack teams built their products on top of AWS. Amazon DynamoDB was a featured service at the event. Our engineers led a deep dive session on DynamoDB showed the students how it lets them offload the administrative burden of operating and scaling their NoSQL database to AWS.

My colleague Dave Schappell was there and introduces the promotional video:

Several teams leveraged DynamoDB in their hacks and built products ranging from real time voting apps capable of supporting real world scaling requirements to data analytics tool that provided real time metrics on public transport systems. Some of the teams that featured DynamoDB in their products include the following:

Book Exchange – College textbooks trading portal that links up buyers and sellers of books based on the real time market value of the textbooks in the portal

PuzzleText – A mobile texting app with a twist. Users have to solve a puzzle before seeing the message.

SpaceWolves – Scalable, real time voting application that combines mobile voting capabilities with data analytics that allows users to view voting metrics and trending topics.

Here are three more videos that do a great job of conveying the spirit of the event (they’re all short and tightly edited but I like the third one the best):



The event was a success for everybody involved and several students went home with internship or job offers from sponsoring companies.

— Jeff;

PS – If you are organizing a hackathon and would like to explore sponsorship options with us, please email us at


Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr is Chief Evangelist for AWS. He started this blog in 2004 and has been writing posts just about non-stop ever since.