PHOTOS: Team from UH Hilo competes in Microsoft US Imagine Cup 2016 finals

The team performed exceedingly well in their booth demo segment and in all around sportsmanship during the event.

By Susan Enright.

UH Hilo team of four in matching brown aloha shirts stand for photo: Bryson Fung, Anthony Vizzone, Reuben Tate, and Pauleen Pante.
UH Hilo’s Team No_Sleep at the 2016 Microsft Imagine Cup US Finals in San Francisco. Left to right, Bryson Fung, Anthony Vizzone, Reuben Tate, and Pauleen Pante. Photos from Microsoft Imagine on flickr, Pre-Day and Competition Day. Click photos to enlarge.

A team of students from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo took part in the 2016 US Imagine Cup championships last week (March 30-April 1, 2016) in San Francisco, California. Although the UH Hilo team was unable to win the national championship this year, they performed exceedingly well in their booth demo segment and in all around sportsmanship during the event.

UH Hilo students Pauleen Pante, Reuben Tate, Bryson Fung, and Anthony Vizzone formed “Team No_Sleep” as part of their senior software engineering project. Their project was entitled Restoring Ecosystems Services Tool (REST), which uses principal component analysis (PCA) graphs to identify plants that are functionally similar to one another for the purposes of ecosystem restoration.

The project was initially undertaken for the USDA Forest Service and the UH Hilo biology department.

Reuben Tate, Pauleen Pante, Anthony Vizzone, and Bryson Fung taking a break in regular street clothes.
UH Hilo’s Team No_Sleep takes a break during the 2016 Microsft Imagine Cup US Finals in San Francisco. (left to right) Reuben Tate, Pauleen Pante, Anthony Vizzone, and Bryson Fung. Photo from Microsoft Imagine on Facebook. Click to enlarge.

On March 30, Microsoft Imagine, on their Facebook page, posted a Q&A with the Hilo Team:

Prior to the Imagine Cup US Finals, we spoke with Team No_Sleep from Hawaii about what they’re looking forward to at the event:

Q: What are you looking forward to at the Imagine Cup US Finals?

A: We’re looking forward to the networking opportunities at the event here in San Francisco, the learning opportunities from the guest speakers that Microsoft has lined up, and seeing what other programmers of our age are also creating as it’s a good measure to see how well we are doing with our project.

The team at their booth in their matching aloha shirts. Their display has a hula skirt hanging from around the table edge and lei decorate the computer screen.
Hilo’s Team No_Sleep tends their booth at the 2016 Microsoft Imagine Cup competition. Photo by Keith Edwards. Click to enlarge.

Team advisor Keith Edwards, chair and professor of computer science, notes the great exposure the event gave UH Hilo on a national stage.

Keith Edwards
Keith Edwards

“UH Hilo was the only comprehensive, primarily baccalaureate granting institution to participate in the US Finals,” says Keith. “The only other non R-1 participant was a top private high school with tuition exceeding UH Hilo’s.”

Edwards gives the Hilo competitors kudos on several fronts: The team’s booth presentation and aloha shirts stood out with a Hawaiian theme, the team displayed good sportsmanship and was well-liked by the other teams, and the students networked with many contacts from around Silicon Valley including 100 recruiting and technical contacts.

Group photo of all Imagine Cup teams standing together. UH Hilo team at front left in their aloha shirts.
Finalist teams at the US Imagine Cup Competition gather around Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (center front in black). The UH Hilo team is at left in aloha shirts. Photo from Microsoft Imagine on Facebook. Click to enlarge.

The students came home with some great swag including Microsoft Band smart watches. They also had two days of Soft Skill Training for Students in Entrepreneurship and heard a presentation from the CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella.

 

About the author of this story: Susan Enright is a public information specialist in the Office of the Chancellor. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.

-UH Hilo Stories