NUS Computing student and team win grand prize at Singapore Airlines AppChallenge 2018

2 November 2018
From left: University of Queensland student James Gover, NUS Computing student Wang Shiyao, NUS Engineering student Ho Kai Lun and Singapore Airlines CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong.

2 November 2018 – NUS Computing student Wang Shiyao and his teammates won the grand prize in the student category of the Singapore Airlines AppChallenge 2018 on 27 October.

First-year Computer Science student Shiyao, together with NUS Industrial & Systems Engineering student Ho Kai Lun and NUS Computing exchange student from the University of Queensland James Gover, emerged as champions among six finalist student teams and won an all-expense paid trip to Silicon Valley. This is the team’s first time participating in a hackathon.

Over 400 local and overseas teams competed in the fourth edition of the AppChallenge, jointly organised by Singapore Airlines (SIA) and NUS Enterprise. Teams were tasked to formulate and develop innovative solutions to help solve one of five business challenges posed by SIA. Some of the challenges include improving mobile app engagement, tracking inventory usage, and improving the compensation process for offloaded passengers.

Shiyao and team chose to tackle two challenges – tracking food and beverage consumption and inventory usage. They developed a holistic tracking system that automates the process of collecting and analysing data. Through the system, inventory managers will be able to monitor inventory data across multiple global destinations and manage the airline’s in-flight catering operations at a higher speed and accuracy.

According to the team, what made their solution stand out was their effort to tailor SIA’s business needs and integrate existing systems and workflows into their system. They also cited the team’s diverse skillsets to be another key element to their success, which helped them create a system with a good technical base with well explained mechanisms.

“Winning the hackathon has been a phenomenal experience. With this being my first hackathon, I did not expect to have come this far. But throughout the process, I gave it my all,” said Shiyao.

Kai Lun also echoed the same sentiment, “It was a tough but an enriching and fulfilling experience. It was incredibly satisfying to pull through all the challenges to reach the finish line.”

“The experience of working closely with an industry leader to tackle the big challenges they faced was amazing for me,” said James. “It was a lot of fun and work and I enjoyed applying the theories I learnt in classes in an interesting way that you don’t get to do in academic projects.”

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