The team performed exceedingly well in their booth demo segment and in all around sportsmanship during the event.
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.
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.
Team advisor Keith Edwards, chair and professor of computer science, notes the great exposure the event gave UH Hilo on a national stage.
“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.
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 writer of this story: Susan Enright is a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.