NUS Computing students win the champions title at Build On, Singapore 2019 hackathon

1 October 2019
From left: NUS Computing students Teo Kai Cheng, Victoria Teo, Vincent Leow, Rebecca Tan, and Xie Yu Heng at Build On, Singapore 2019.

1 October 2019 – A team of final-year NUS Computing students emerged as champions in the recent Build On, Singapore 2019 hackathon on 24 September. Business Analytics students Victoria Teo and Vincent Leow, Information Systems students Teo Kai Cheng and Rebecca Tan, and Computer Engineering student Xie Yu Heng, won the champions prize in the university category of the competition.

Build On, Singapore 2019 is jointly organised by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and NUS. The competition is split into three categories: university category, polytechnic category, and the Institutes of Technical Education and Junior Colleges category. Students from these post-secondary institutes were challenged to solve one of six challenges presented and build effective solutions using AWS products and services. Some of the challenges include improving AI virtual assistants for government services, reducing traffic accidents, and developing ideas for smart campuses.

The hackathon received 51 entries in total and 38 teams progressed to the competition finals held on 24 September. The NUS Computing team was one of nine teams shortlisted to present their solution to a panel of judges in the final round of the hackathon. Vincent, Rebecca, Yu Heng, Victoria and Kai Cheng came up with an idea to develop a comprehensive mobile application for drivers to find a parking space. “Our survey results show that the majority of drivers face difficulties with finding a carpark when they arrive at their destination,” said Victoria, on behalf of her team. “There are many applications out there that help drivers locate car parks, but their features are not extensive enough.”

To provide users with a hassle-free experience, the team’s app displays information such as the number of available lots of nearby carparks, carpark pricing, and the carpark’s distance from destination. “Users can easily find available carparks near a certain place like “313 Somerset” using our fuzzy keyword search. These carparks will be tagged on our map and users can view the information they need to choose the most optimal carpark. After they have selected their desired carpark, they can route to it easily using our navigation system,” explained Vincent. “For users who wish to plan their trip in advance, they can also make use of our predictive analytics to view carpark availability trends throughout the day.”

According to the team, the key feature that made their app stand out among existing carpark apps is the team’s emphasis to incorporate user-centric design into their app. “Instead of focusing on the number of fanciful technological solutions added into our application, we chose to develop a solution that is able to address existing problems and at the same time to ensure that our app is user-friendly,” Victoria added.

“It was an eye opening experience to be in this hackathon as there were so many innovative and interesting solutions presented at the finals. The hackathon challenged us to broaden our horizons and think beyond our chosen problem statement. More importantly, our team worked really well together and everyone in our team genuinely believed in the idea and worked relentlessly to build the app. Teamwork does makes the dream work,” said Rebecca.

Media mention:
The Straits Times, 25 September 2019

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