October 22, 2016

Students Compete in ‘Hackathon’ for Adventist Mission

A team of students from the Adventist University of Bolivia has won a top prize for quickly developing an app to support local literature evangelists at a Seventh-day Adventist Church-sponsored technology conference.

The team received a prize of U.S.$1,000 during the first International Adventist Conference of Technology, which was attended by about 250 computer science students at the Adventist University of Bolivia near Cochabamba from Oct. 13 to 15.

Eleven teams comprised of 38 computer science students from Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, and Spain competed in a two-day “Adventist Hackathon” to build software prototypes that solve needs related to Adventist mission during the conference. The Spanish and Brazilian teams participated remotely.

The winning team produced a working prototype of an app to support the daily work of literature evangelists in the church’s Bolivian Union. One of the app’s attractive functionalities is a calculator that tells literature evangelists how many publications they have to sell to reach their financial goal.

The prize money was awarded by the Adventist Institute of Technology along with two Bolivian church institutions.

Lourdes Gonçalves, a professor with the Adventist University in São Paulo, Brazil, said the conference provided a valuable experience for students as well as for the dozens of professors who also were in attendance.

“It is great to share experiences and research projects,” Gonçalves said.

The conference, which showcased technological approaches aimed at fulfilling the church’s mission to spread the gospel, allowed attendees to work in two tracks. One track was the Adventist Hackathon. In the other track, professors from seven Adventist universities that constitute the Latin-American Network of Computer Science Engineering Schools and engineers from the Adventist Institute of Technology gave presentations on how to support Adventist mission through software engineering, artificial intelligence, data science, business intelligence, and other related subjects.

This was the third annual meeting of the Latin-American Network of Computer Science Engineering Schools, a computer science engineering endeavor of Adventist universities in the Inter-American and South-American divisions that seeks to develop technology-related projects through internships, student exchanges, and other strategies. 

The seven participating universities at this year's meeting were: Corporación Universitaria Adventista (Colombia), Universidad Adventista de Chile (Chile), Universidad Peruana Unión – Juliaca (Peru), Centro Universitário Adventista de São Paulo - Hortolandia (Brazil), Instituto Tecnológico Superior Adventista del Ecuador (Ecuador), Universidad de Montemorelos (Mexico), and Universidad Adventista de Bolivia (Bolivia).  Other universities also have participated in previous years.

The Adventist University of Chile will host the next International Adventist Conference of Technology in August 2017.