UH Hilo Team Poliahu Wraps Up 11th Worldwide Imagine Cup

A four-member team of computer science students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo competed in the Imagine Cup 2013 Worldwide Finals sponsored by Microsoft July 8-11 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Although Team Poli`ahu did not capture top honors, competing on the world stage was a significant achievement.

Team Poliahu in front of Alexandrinsky Theatre for the awards ceremony

Team Poliahu in front of Alexandrinsky Theatre for the awards ceremony

“It has been great to see UH Hilo students recognized as some of the best in the world,” noted Dr. Harry Keith Edwards, faculty advisor. “The U.S. national championship and our participation in the world finals demonstrate that students at UH Hilo receive a quality education and can compete with the best in the world.”

UH Hilo’s Team Poli`ahu, comprised of Mike Purvis, Kayton Summers, Wallace Hamada, and Ryder Donahue, won the U.S. Championship in May with their application entitled “Help Me Help,” which aids the community and emergency response personnel in disaster situations by allowing users to upload images of nearby hazards through the use of smart phones.

Team Poli`ahu competed against more than 30 other teams in the Innovation category that included entries from China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Slovenia, Thailand and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom’s team captured top honors with their mobile phone application, SoundSYNK, which is designed to establish an impromptu social network by connecting phones through Bluetooth. Team DORA of Slovenia finished second and Thailand’s Team MYRA came in third.

Purvis described the competition as a wonderful experience as the students got to meet people from all around the world. He believes they made a lasting impression, showcasing both their application and Hawaiʻi.

“We were very popular among the competitors and the public,” Purvis said. “We feel proud of our project, presentation, and the teams that won. We’re looking forward to implementing the Mauna Kea Guide to track native and invasive species when we return – after we catch up on sleep, of course.”

The Imagine Cup is recognized as the premier student technology competition that honors innovations that address the world’s toughest problems. This year’s competition drew 87 student teams from 71 countries who competed for more than $1 million in cash and prizes after winning local and online competitions around the world.


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