WATERLOO, Ontario (Monday, September 15, 2014) — A thousand of the world’s brightest students will converge at the University of Waterloo for Hack the North, a hackathon held from Sept 19 - 21. Organized by a group of undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo, Hack the North is set to be the first massive, international-scale hackathon in Canada.

More than 2,500 students applied to attend Hack the North, but organizers only accepted 1,000 of the most talented students. Participants from over 100 schools, including MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, University of Pennsylvania and UCLA as well as schools in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Brazil, Korea and China will travel to Waterloo compete.

Many of today’s most successful businesses like Facebook, Google and Microsoft thrive on a hackathon culture familiar to American tech hotspots like Silicon Valley. The organizers of Hack the North are aiming to bring this culture to the Canadian mainstream. “We want to empower more young Canadians to solve meaningful problems with technology”, said Kevin Lau, second-year systems design engineering student and Hack the North co-director.

Working in partnership with Major League Hacking and Waterloo Engineering, the event is organized by Techyon, a non-profit organization made up of University of Waterloo students. Hack the North has already caught the attention of some of biggest players in the industry. Engineers from Google, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Pebble, Yelp, Mozilla, Twilio, Kik, Uber, Cisco and Shopify will provide mentorship and host lectures throughout Hack the North.

"Our mission is to spread the hacker ethos to every student on the planet,” said Mike Swift, MLH Commissioner. “A big part of that is supporting high quality student hackathons in regions, like the North, that typically don't have access to them.  The students at University of Waterloo have really stepped up and committed to the mission of supporting our community.  Hack the North is shaping up to be one of the top events this season and we couldn't be more excited to continue working with them into the future."

Hackathons are events where participants learn new skills and build things with technology over 24 to 36 hours. Attendees are encouraged to solve meaningful problems with their projects, but are free to express their creativity through technology however they want. Hackathons allow creative expression through technology and act as learning environments where participants can collaborate with mentors and learn new technologies from workshop sessions.

“Creativity and inventiveness are the keys to problem solving at Waterloo Engineering”, said Pearl Sullivan, dean of engineering. “Our students regularly attend U.S. hackathons and often win top awards. The Hack the North event has created an opportunity for our students, and students from around the world, to form relationships and work together to solve problems using technology.”

In addition to 36 hours of hacking, Hack the North will feature talks and workshops from industry leaders. Venture capitalist and former Facebook executive, Chamath Palihapitiya, will address the hackers in a “fire-side chat” with Jason Calacanis, Founder and CEO of Inside.com, on Friday September 19 at 9 p.m. Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator, will participate in another “fire-side chat” with Pearl Sullivan, Dean of Waterloo Engineering on Saturday September 20 at 11am. These talks and the closing ceremony will be live-streamed online.

About Major League Hacking

Major League Hacking (MLH) powers the official student hackathon league. Each semester, more than 15,000 developers, designers, and makers compete for their school’s glory at the 50+ official MLH hackathons in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. For more information on MLH or to find a hackathon near you please visit mlh.io.

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