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36 Hours: MHacks Winners Code with the Wolfram Language

Olivia Walch and Matt Jacobs

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"We've turned users into designers through algorithms, and we've been able to do it in the really short time crunch that hackathons allow using the stuff that already exists in Wolfram. It would've been impossible without it."
The Wolfram Edge
  • Perform advanced image processing
  • Create, manipulate and analyze Fourier series approximations
  • Develop mathematical ideas into products rapidly


University of Michigan graduate students Matt Jacobs and Olivia Walch had 36 hours to create something amazing at the hackathon MHacks V. And in order to win the grand prize, they needed a language and platform that could bring their algorithms to life in a very short amount of time.


The Wolfram Language's built-in cloud technology and 5,000 powerful functions enabled Olivia and Matt to rapidly implement their ideas and build award-winning apps. Inspired by a Wolfram Blog post from Michael Trott on designing person curves, Olivia and Matt combined their expertise in Fourier series and the Wolfram Language to develop their app, Draw Anything, which creates a custom step-by-step, how-to-draw guide for any image. And at the end of the 36 hours, they took home the grand prize at MHacks V for their creation.


Matt was relatively new to programming before participating in hackathons with Olivia and Wolfram technology. While competing at MHacks V, he quickly picked up the Wolfram Language and was immediately hooked; Matt thanks the Wolfram Language for "making it so easy to get in there and not be scared of programming." Having now won prizes from multiple hackathons, both Olivia and Matt agree that they will definitely be using Wolfram technology for future competitions.

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