UC Berkeley cultivates festive culture of ‘free thinkers’ at AI hackathon

Over 1,200 computer hackers from around the world packed UC Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union last weekend during a 36-hour artificial intelligence (AI) learning language model (LLM) hackathon that Berkeley leaders say was the largest event of its kind.

Dubbed “the Woodstock of Hackathons,” the event was hosted by Berkeley’s premiere startup accelerator, Berkeley SkyDeck, and Cal Hacks, a nonprofit that runs collegiate hackathons. Hackers traveled to campus from as far away as New Zealand and Singapore to bring their AI-inspired projects to life by building applications on top of LLMs similar to ChatGPT.