Students Compete & Win at Tizen Hackathon-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Students Compete & Win at Tizen Hackathon

The team shows off a demo of the winning 'Big Brother' app
The team shows off a demo of the winning 'Big Brother' app

Several teams of students at Carnegie Mellon University's Silicon Valley campus worked busily over the weekend—but not on homework. These students spent hours on end at competitive hackathons in the Bay Area. While a few chose to attend a developer competition hosted by Yahoo!, many decided to try out the Tizen Devlab and Hack, which took place September 27-28, sponsored by Intel and Samsung.

The Tizen Devlab and Hack welcomed developers to explore and create using HTML5 for Tizen, an open-source mobile operating system from the Linux Foundation. The hackathon offered cash prizes for the winning teams that created or ported the best apps. More than 100 participants showed up, according to the blog MLogy. 

“My team went in with a lot of skepticism about how we will work on a completely new platform. …It was a pretty crowded hackathon and made us even more skeptical about how we would perform,” reported Ruchir Patwa, a second-year graduate student from the Information Networking Institute’s Master of Science in Information Technology – Information Security (MSIT-IS) program. 

Other Carnegie Mellon graduate students who joined Ruchir to participate included Vedant Bhatt (MSIT-IS), Apoorva Dubey (MSIT-SM), Kapil Duraphe (MSIT-SM), Bin Liu (MSIT-MOB), Devika Nair (MSIT-SM), Manuel Nakamurakare (MSIT-Mobility), Shuai Wang (MSIT-MOB), Jiasi Zeng (MSIT-MOB), and Min Zhao (Human-Computer Interaction).

The first prize amounting to $1,000 went to a four-person team made up of Ruchir, Devika, Manuel and Vedant — all students from the INI’s bicoastal MSIT programs.

In describing the team’s process, Ruchir reported that Day 1 was spent brainstorming and planning late into the night, followed by a second day of dividing the workload and completing each necessary task. The team named their final product Big Brother.

The winning Big Brother app monitors a user’s activities to use as a trigger for setting the device to an appropriate mode, as defined by the user’s preferences.  As a user moves from place to place, such as from home to school, or from activity to activity, such as from work to a meeting, the mobile device acknowledges the change and sets itself accordingly.  For example, Big Brother will apply silence mode for the duration of a meeting. 

“What we used for the demo was that if I enter the WiFi at the hackathon, it should tweet out that I am at the hackathon. We used Zapier for some of the integration,” said Ruchir.

The team showed “great energy and innovation,” according to David Cao, founder of SVEntrepreneurs, who was one of the judges. He also commended the business model of the Big Brother app for including “different aspects of opportunity.”

Chief Operations Officer of BeMyApp Vera Glavova wrote: “The whole BeMyApp team, our honorary judges and everyone who participated in the Silicon Valley Tizen Hackathon was impressed by the creativity and technical skills demonstrated by the CMU Silicon Valley students! Brilliant ideas, mind-blowing execution and great energy - this is why we'll always invite CMU Silicon Valley students to our hackathons."

Overall, the teams had fun and felt grateful for not only the chance to exercise their developer skills but also for the professional networking opportunities with the judges and other participants.