Sigma is built around the notion of internet privacy, specifically regarding messaging systems. A typical messaging system requires that messages be saved on a remote server; however, with recent developments regarding the NSA, it is clear why one might not want to leave a digital trail when using the internet.
How it works
Sigma uses a peer-to-peer (P2P) system to deliver chat messages, making sure the only location messages are saved is your computer. First, the client connects to a bootstrap server, which facilitates the distribution of client IPs to each other. From that point onward, clients only communicate with each other. The protocol is designed in such a way that even if the bootstrap server is compromised, the worst possible outcome is that user lookup will not work. Never will your messages be sent to someone who you didn't intent on receiving it.
Challenges we ran into
Learning JavaFX to implement the GUI was troublesome, but it was nothing compared to getting the initial Peer2Peer connection established and messages delivered.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are really proud of the fact that we got the Peer2Peer messaging to work, especially given our time constraints and pivoting that happened during the hackathon itself.
What we learned
We learned how to work as a team to engineer a solution, resolve issues through compromise, and use java to create a prototype P2P chat system. We had to learn JavaFX and advanced networking in Java.
What's next for Sigma
Code refactoring, code optimization and redundancies. The app can have more features added to it, both on the GUI and server side.