CMU-SV Students Place Second at Tizen Hack Competition-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

CMU-SV Students Place Second at Tizen Hack Competition

It’s a not-so-closely guarded secret that a recruiting event should always include free food to entice the talented but constantly hungry graduate student crowd. A team of Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley (CMU-SV) students, lovers of free food themselves, capitalized upon this universal truth to build an application at the recent Tizen Hack Competition, held in conjunction with the first Tizen Developer Conference. The team won 2nd place out of a competitive pool of participants, which included professional developers, adding to the impressive list of CMU-SV hackathon wins in the past year.

“We were sitting in the car, talking about the job search process and got on the topic of the free food offered at many Silicon Valley companies, and suddenly realized that it was great idea for an app,” said David Liu. Liu was one of the members of team ‘Mystery Asians,’ which also included CMU-SV MS Software Engineering students Sky Hu, Clyde Li, David Liu, Sean Xiao, and MSIT-23 student Sungho Cho.

Mystery Asians’ Tour Out app helps students discover sponsored tours and recruiting events that offer free food while also assisting recruiters in attracting top student talent, especially through employees taking advantage of opportunities to gain referral bonuses by hosting tours. Using the Tizen platform, a new open source operating system launched by Intel and Samsung, the team would provide GPS information and NFC (Near Field Communication) to support the application’s features, such as contact exchange.

After 24 hours of hacking and successfully compiling feature after feature, the team finishing their app two hours ahead of the deadline, providing plenty of time to work on a persuasive demo. In addition to explaining the technical stacks and use of the Tizen API, members of Mystery Asians acted out a skit of an employee using the Tour Out app to form a tour with the promise of free food to attract student talent, earning plenty of laughs from the crowd.

Industry representatives judged the apps based on innovation, execution, leveraging of SDK and user experience. Out of 19 different submissions, Mystery Asians won 2nd place for best app with one judge commenting that the team’s hard work of getting all of the APIs to run set them apart from other teams. “We were really surprised to win anything because there were so many amazing ideas and cool applications,” admitted Xiao. “We found out winning is always possible,” added Li, “but more importantly, it was a great experience because we got to learn new things using the Tizen platform and APIs.”

Mystery Asian’s members are no stranger to success at hackathons, having had a hand in recent wins at the Hertz Hackathon and CMU-SV HTML5 Hackathon. As with the previous competitions, the team members found that offline networking was even important than producing a winning app. “We met people from all over the world, people wearing Google Glass and just had a lot of fun learning along with other developers,” said Xiao.

Reporting contributed by Sean Xiao (MS SE '13)

Pictured above (from left): Sky Hu, David Liu, Sean Xiao, Clyde Li, Sungho Cho and Wendy Fong