A University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa team, led by a Department of Electrical Engineering graduate student, placed third out of 249 teams in an international education-based hackathon.
“Joe’s Best Team” led by Frendy Lio Can, a spring 2020 computer engineering graduate, was one of four North America teams to make it to the finals of EduHacks 2020. The team’s project was inspired by STAR (an advising, registration and career program developed at UH). Lio Can and teammates, and computer engineering students Willy Chang, Keenan Lee and Spencer Young, created a demo website where students are able to see their credits and plan their pathways similar to how STAR does. Advisors and professors are able to upload the credit/grade of a student for a course.
“The main innovation that we needed to implement was to create a blockchain, a way to secure the transaction and increase the transparency of credit management of a student as well as keeping it as confidential as possible for the student,” Lio Can said. “We were surprised that we qualified for the finals and even more so when we won third place.”
Lio Can added, “During the submission deadline to qualify for the final, we were well into the midterm season and several team members were in the middle of other project deadlines. As students, we prioritize our studies first; however, we still wanted to do our best in the competition, representing the university. Overall, we feel humbled and satisfied with our results. Hard work pays off.”
This year’s theme was Artificial Intelligence, with an emphasis on the Internet of Things, 5G Era and STEM. EduHacks 2020 aimed to promote the multidimensional development of the industry, education and research through connecting universities and social enterprises. Participants put theory into practice, worked with passionate peers, connected with industry experts and expanded their professional networks.
“The performance by this team at EduHacks 2020 is an example of how our students and graduates can compete with anyone around the world,” College of Engineering Dean Brennon Morioka said. “We are proud of the hard work by Frendy Lio Can, Willy Chang, Keenan Lee and Spencer Young.”
“Congratulations to the team on its third place finish, which is quite an achievement,” said Associate Professor Galen Sasaki, who mentors UH Mānoa computer engineering students. “I’d also like to commend and thank them for the great job of representing the University of Hawaiʻi.”
EduHacks 2020 was presented by Vancouver-based HackHub and the Beifang International Education Group in China. The UH Mānoa College of Engineering is a community partner of EduHacks 2020.
“For any future software engineers, computer engineers or any other individuals interested in a career in programming, hackathons are a great source of experience to get exposure and learn,” Lio Can said. “It places you in a high-intensity environment where you need to coordinate and communicate with your team to deliver a solution in a limited amount of time. Remember, winning a hackathon is just a plus; the greatest prize lies in the journey of learning and meeting new people.”
—By Marc Arakaki