A tool created by Harvey Mudd College students that helps developers consider the environmental impact of their code was the top pick of judges at the recent 2019 SD Hacks intercollegiate hackathon held at UC San Diego.
EverGreen, created by Alice Chi ’21, Alfredo Gomez ’21 and Matthew Krager ’21, is an eco-aware integrated development environment (IDE) inspired by the societal issues surrounding the environmental impact of CO2 emissions. The tool captures the environmental impact that a programmer’s code will have by using various metrics, such as the carbon emitted in the average lifespan of a car. They calculated the CO2 emissions for a given piece of code and then generalized emissions for other hardware.
During the three-day event, 143 student teams were tasked with creating a technical solution to an issue related to sustainability, education or health and wellness. The HMC team chose sustainability as their category because they wanted to develop a solution that would help programmers improve the way they code.
“I have been to many hackathons, and I think this project was unique in that it was able to get the audience engaged, since the target audience was other programmers,” Krager says. Particularly effective in evoking emotion about environmental impact were the team’s hand-drawn graphics for animations that gave “an impactful visual representation of the environmental influence of the user’s code.”
For their first-place finish, the team received Apple iPads, Bose SoundLink wireless headphones and a $200 Amazon gift card.
The team looks forward to enhancing EverGreen by improving the grammar to suggest more efficient Python code. They note that they would also “like to add support for multiple languages to help all programmers be more environmentally conscious about their code.”