This past weekend at the Invoca office was one for the books! Software developers consumed coffee, wrote tons of code, had a lot of fun, and slept too few hours. No this wasn’t a regular weekend work session, it was the Invoca Hackathon.

What is a hackathon, you ask? Don’t worry, the term “hack” used here doesn’t have the illegal connotation it does in TV and movies. Traditionally, a hackathon is an event where a team of programmers, product designers, and other team members get together to code and design in a limited amount of time.

Over 30 members of the Santa Barbara tech community joined Invoca developers for the weekend long functional programming blitz.

Now, what about this “functional programming” thing? With roots in 1930’s mathematics, functional programming was the exclusive domain of ivory tower academics for years. However, new languages and tools have made it possible for developers to create concise, easy to understand, scalable concurrent code for real world applications.

Developers interested in learning about functional programming brought their laptops and sleeping bags and came ready to hack! They formed into teams and competed for awesome prizes in a competition judged by a panel of local technical luminaries.

the judges

After 40 hours of coding, caffeine and junk food, the teams demoed their projects and the judges picked the winners:

Best Overall Project – Team Divvy

team divvy

Max Helmetag, Dan Dubinsky, Brendan BrownSol Tran

The team created a restaurant check splitting mobile app. All you have to do is take a picture of the check using the app. The app taps into the Google Vision API to extract the text from the receipt so you can determine what each party owes. Great job team!

Best Use of Functional Programming – Team Hello

team hello

Adam Hess

This “team of one” created a browser-based game in which you must deduce the RISC instructions necessary to solve a mathematical problem. The project was coded in Elm, a purely functional language that compiles down to JavaScript. This game is an impressive example of functional programming.

Judges Favorite – Team NoName

team no name

Alex Schreifels,Chris Atanasian, James Brown, Alec JacobsPeter WilsonBob Smith

This team used Elixir and FreeSwitch to create a fault tolerant cluster of telecom servers that could maintain a call even if one of the servers crashed. In other words, this team built a system that ensures phone calls are never disconnected even if a server crashes. That’s pretty amazing!

Thank you to the judges, the participants, and everyone else who helped make this event amazing! We’re thrilled with the turnout this year, and we’re already looking forward to the next Hackathon!

Mike Weaver

Posted by Mike Weaver

While graduating UCSB Mike caught "startup fever" and has been sick ever since. He has worked in numerous high-tech ventures, typically in software related positions. With true "full stack" experience, from micro-controller firmware to globally distributed SaaS applications, Mike feels most at home when leading teams of engineers to success and architectural nirvana.


  1. Avatar

    Great work every one. What a great event to be a part of.


  2. Avatar

    Elixir is the future! Looks fun, and wow that last team looks pretty stacked! Maybe send me an INVITE next time. 😉 ?


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