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Hackathon 2017

'Berapa gaji seorang programmer?', that was among sincere questions asked by one of the Hackathon 2017 participant to En Izwan Hasli Ibrahim, the Chief Operating Officer of Petronas ICT, soon after he delivered a talk entitled 'Anak Pahang Seorang Programmer di Persada Dunia'. Besides sharing tips on how to excel in academics, he presented 'programming' in a unique perspectives - programming skill as a balance combination of science and arts. En Izwan's 30 minutes tele-conference ended with him addressing the question of - 'Berapa gaji seorang programmer?'. En Izwan explained that, typically, programmers' pay may reach up to a couple of thousands per day.

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Hackathon 2017 was officiated by the Deputy Dean of FKEE, PM Dr. Hamdan bin Daniyal. In his opening speech, PM Dr. Hamdan walked through his inspiring 32 years of experience in STEM. PM Dr. Hamdan started his career as an engineer in Taiping, and then pursue his postgraduate studies, right before becoming a lecturer. He outlined the importance of STEM education as well as the increasing demand in STEM oriented careers. Towards the end of the speech, PM Hamdan urge the participants to keep seeing, thinking and exploring the knowledge as these would enable one to marvel in life.

Soon after the talks, all the 24 groups (72 participants) were given a set of components - Arduino, motor driver, sensors (ultrasonic, PIR, colour), and a 3-wheeled chassis. These students were given the task to develop an obstacle avoidance robot. With the assistance and guidance from 15 UMP mentors, the students then started to assemble the hardware, solder the connectors, install the drivers and upload the codes throughout the first two days. On Sunday, these robots raced in a 4-meter track. The race was judged based on the distance traveled by the robots.

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In the final heat, ASIMOV, from Sek Men Sains Sultan Ahmad Shah won the race, while InStar2, from Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Tun Abdul Razak was named second place. Then, the student were given an overnight, to 'hack' the obstacle avoidance robot and built a robot that is able to tackle a 8 by 8 maze. On the fourth day, the students then compete in the Maze Runner challenge. Each robots is given 2 minutes to solve the maze and the winner was determined based on the nearest distance to the exit point. InStar9, Sekolah Berasrama Penuh Integrasi Tun Abdul Razak, won this competition.

Overall, the main objective of this program, which is to gain students' insight in learning technical concept specifically in coding and robotics, was established. Students were able to cope with the pressure of getting the project done, making the most from self learning via internet resources as well as engage in peer-teaching. Our initial analysis based on student's response via pre/post test shows that students' understanding on Arduino coding and robotics increases by 21%.

I would like to acknowledge the financial support from UMP MyGift (cc En Mohd Jamil Mohd Ja'affar), Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDeC) and JJIM (cc En. Raizalhelmi Mohd Rais) throughout this program.

To the Dean (Prof Ir Dr Kamarul Hawari), DD Academic (Assoc. Prof Hamdan Daniyal), Program Chairs (Dr Bakri Hassan, Dr Saifudin), fellow FKEE colleagues who had visited and supported Hackathon 2017 in any possible way AND most importantly the mighty Hackathon 2017 secretariats - (Dr. Md Rizal Othman, Hj Amran, Riduwan, PM Dr. Razali Daud, Yann, Sue, Liza, Eyta, Helmi, Pudin, Ikhwan, Dr. Ikhwan, Dr. Anwar, Azri), as well as the student mentors (Mok, Satish, Amira, Nabilah, Faisal, Zaini, Auni, Ayman, Hafiz, Aizzuddin, Timorthy, Praga, Fong, Rifqi, Alis, Ain, Thank you so much.

See you in Hackathon Pahang 2018, InsyaAllah.

Nurul Hazlina Noordin
30 October 2017