On Saturday, approximately 300 students attended the fourth annual MADcon, an app development conference hosted by UT’s Mobile App Development society, or MAD.
“It is by far one of my favorite events,” chairman of UT computer science Bruce Porter said. “I love that it is explicitly not a competition, but more of a grassroots movement, with hundreds of students giving their time and sharing their knowledge. It’s fundamentally a great way to learn.”
The conference consisted of a variety of sessions that covered topics such as Android and iOS development and technological advancement in China. Computer science freshman Catherine Lu said the sessions were interesting and informative.
“It kind of makes you want to go home and create more side projects,” Lu said. “It was great just learning things in a safe environment and with help, and it was also cool to see and meet other computer science people.”
Before the sessions began, Tom Bishop, who worked at Bell Labs, a large telecommunication company, and former vice-president of technology at UNIX, an operating system company, gave a keynote address on entrepreneurship. According to Bishop, current computing power allows almost any project to be entrepreneurial, but innovation requires products to quickly evolve.
“The best place for innovation is here, at universities,” Bishop said during his keynote. “You can sit around and talk to other people and to professors with no profit motive. You’re all very lucky — there are lots of very smart people working very hard at UT. Each of you have the potential to build something that will change the world.”
In addition to MADcon, UT’s MAD hosts weekly workshops on iOS, Android and web development throughout the semester. These workshops are open to students of any major.
While the workshops cover similar topics, president of MAD Drew Romanyk said the conference is something special.
“(MADcon) is kind of like a celebration,” Romanyk said. “The workshops help, but this is a powerhouse of innovation and knowledge. We’re trying to empower people, to open up new possibilities for them. This brings it all together.”