WP Engine, like any engine, needs fuel to press ahead. Innovation is the spark that ignites and propels us forward faster, and to keep that ingenious spark lit, we actively foster a creative and collaborative environment at WP Engine where cutting-edge ideas can take root and flourish.

Our bi-annual Hackathons play an integral role in creating that welcoming space. These friendly competitions give employees the opportunity to stretch their imagination and work on projects that could potentially power the future of the company. If the drive for innovation isn’t enough motivation to get employees to compete, the goal of winning one of the four coveted Hackathon awards definitely is. 

This year’s Fall Hackathon awards included the Ship it! Award, which recognizes a product that could be “shipped” tomorrow, the Game Changer Award, which goes to a project that has the potential to shift the way we understand our business today, and the Best in Show Award, which is given to the most polished project with the best presentation.

Finally, this year included a unique category, coined the Thanks for Failing! Award. This special award was bestowed upon the team that may not have created the most refined end-product but learned the most from their mistakes along the way. 

The Hackathon kicked off last week with more than twenty teams taking part, and winners were announced today. The final projects ranged from using natural language processing to improve web chats to creating a boardgame selection randomizer that makes finding a board game to play easier than ever. 

Check out the list below to learn about all twenty-one projects, starting with this year’s winners: 

Ship it! 

Core Dump Collector – This year’s Ship It winner, Core Dump Collector, constructed a system to automatically collect core dumps and make them available in BigQuery to allow systematic identification of software crashes. (Hackers: Charles Southerland, Brandon DuRette, Brian Gosnell)

Game Changer

Zero-configuration CDN – Our Fall Game Changer award went to Zero-configuration CDN, which used Cloudflare Workers to build a prototype content delivery network (CDN) for WP Engine. (Hackers: Brian Gosnell, Michael Smith)

Best in Show

Gateway Webshell – This year’s Best in Show went to Gateway Webshell, which built a shell environment within WP Engine browsers to have an effortless experience accessing SSH. (Hackers: Nate Gay, Tina Ho, Mehar Gangishetti, AJ Jwair, Benjamin “BMO” Moore)

Thanks for Failing! 

Mysterious Ninjas – The Thanks for Failing! award went to Mysterious Ninjas, who used Machine learning to predict customer churn rate and find out how likely a customer is to leave. (Hackers: Mark O’Brien, Martin McDonnell, Ciaran Shanahan)

Here’s a look at the rest of the excellent Fall Hackathon projects: 

SIGMA – Made automatic software that can predict support load levels to warn R&D of any bugs that need to be addressed. (Hackers: Linh Vo, Ivan Huang)

Regen is the Enemy – Prototyped an alternate strategy for handling updates to domain mappings and redirects so that updates to those settings could be immediately visible. (Hackers: Will West, Michael May)

Blinking Lights – Created a blinking light “show” using Arduino kit, LED lights, microphones, piezo elements, C programming and more. (Hackers: Michelle Mandel, Chris DuVall)

Michelle Mandel and Chris DuVall show off their “Blinking Lights” show for the 2019 Fall Hackathon

Bored Gamers – Created a boardgame randomizer with React that used an API from BoardGameGeek and scrapped more than 6,000 unique IDs. (Hackers: Matthew Cardenas, Gary Singer, Micah Bond)

Jazzbox – Mapped out the 350k+ lines of code in Nasbox to be able to visualize data in a different way and extract new insights. (Hackers: Wyatt Tall, Justin Prukop) 

Swagger Vending Machine – Employed swagger-codegen to create and maintain auto-generated clients. (Hackers: Michael Pantaleano and Jason Noble)

In a Sentimental Mood – Applied machine learning to create an algorithm to help predict ratings of unrated Zendesk chats through natural language processing (NLP). (Hackers: Courtney Curtis, Jeffrey Hogan, Justin Lim, Parul Priya, Denver Serrao) 

ProCat Nip – Built a React admin page to create plans and products in PROCAT. (Hackers: Raul Camacho, Johnny Knoebel, Obinna Ngini, Bridget Owens, Tina Ho) 

WooHacker – Designed their own WooCommerce site, integrated it with WP Engine tools, and bought and “refunded” their own “product,” a decomposing pumpkin leftover from Halloween. (Hackers: Haidee McMahon, Megan Duffy, Rachel Noonan, David Power)

Team Fafnir – Made a tool a tool that makes it effortless for WP Engine developers to deploy and maintain their projects on our hosted environments. (Hackers: Matthew Swain, Josh Yelton, Nadeem Syed) 

SSH Workers – Outsourced resource-intensive wpod process, like PHP Compatability Checker, to SSH workers via SSH Gateway. (Hackers: Steven Word, Daniel Savo) 

Thinking outside the nas(box) – Removed all direct imports of Nasbox from Overdrive to create a more seamless experience for WP Engine developers. (Hackers: William McKinnerney, Nate Gay)

Thinking outside the nas(box) team from L to R: Nate Gay, Matthew Swain, Joshua Yelton, Nadeem Syed

Logo-splosion –  Replaced the logo-explosion on wpengine.com with a 60 fps simulation with interactivity. (Hacker: Jason Cohen)

WP Engine Founder and CTO Jason Cohen also took part in the Hackathon and presented his project, “Logo-splosion”

Metragator – Produced a Network-local aggregation with distributed tracing, adaptive bucketing, stateful counters, and aggregation math in a SQL statement to be an intermediary layer between collective services that run reconciliation patterns and other visualization programs. (Hackers: James Dominy, Shane Daly, Shane O’Dwyer, James Fairbairn, Rian Brady) 

Unicorn Rangers – Learned and tested Figma to potentially replace Sketch, InVision, Zeplin and Lingo to make it easier for shared designer libraries and the hand-off to developers. (Hackers: Tina Ho) 

WPEing Pong – Created a Ping Pog app while experimenting with React, Rails API, and WebSockets. (Hackers: John Caldwell)

Come Work With Us 

Do you enjoy building technical projects similar to those listed above? WP Engine is currently looking for passionate individuals to join our Engineering teams. For more information, check out our careers page.