Calling all Student Network Innovators. Juniper Networks and Comcast Want You!

If you are a graduate or undergraduate student involved in higher-level programming, you might want to take advantage of a challenge being issued by Juniper Networks OpenLab (Bridgewater) and Comcast (Philadelphia).

The SDN and Network Automation University Throwdown Program, hosted by Juniper and Comcast, will take place on February 19-26. It isn’t just your typical hackathon or a standard competition. It’s an opportunity to take a deep dive into what makes a communications network tick and to propose an interesting solution for a complex business and technical challenge.

The eight-day program includes two days of activities on site at Juniper’s OpenLab and five days off site, when student teams build their solutions.

The on-site activities during the first two days consist of workshops featuring lectures, training and competition preparation. The teams then go off site to build their applications using a Juniper SDN Controller. All the teams reconvene at OpenLab on the eighth day to present and demo their solutions for a panel of judges.

So far, Juniper and various customer partners have delivered nine of these programs, with 184 students from 28 different universities in North America. Locally, participating schools have included Rutgers, NJIT, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), Princeton and others. covered this event in 2016 here.

The program focuses on emerging SDN and network automation technologies, and it provides a real-world networking challenge designed to complement classroom learning. The students also get to confer with experts. Participation by qualified student teams is free, but registration is limited to ten teams.

Each member of the top three finishing teams receives technology prizes. All program participants will have an opportunity to speak with Juniper and Comcast talent acquisition teams about available job openings, and they will all get free access to a Juniper On-Demand Training course. Other benefits may also be provided to the participants.

To be eligible, Juniper says, team members should have some course work in software engineering (software planning/design); data structures/intro to algorithmic analysis; computer networks (understanding of networking); and hands-on programming using Java, Python, Ruby, JavaScript or PHP. They should also know how to work with others on small projects.

To participate, students must be able to form teams with at least three members. For more information and to register, please see this website. Questions can be directed to  Registration closes on February 8.

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