CS Blog

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co-written with Linda Chang, Aaron Gokaslan, and Cliff Weitzman

Brown CS students continue to distinguish themselves at hackathons nationwide. To read more on this topic, click here.

At last week's HackMIT, which brought together more than 1,000 hackers from around the world to collaborate on new software and hardware projects, five Brown CS students and one MIT colleague won three awards for their work, recognizing excellence in areas as diverse as parsing and visualization.

Noah Picard, Taylor Pullinger, and Cliff Weitzman of Brown CS built an iPhone app called OurStory, which allows users to take short videos, send them to friends, and compile them into a single narrative.  It can be used to create humor, tell stories about lives around the globe, survey people's political opinions, and more. You can see an example here. OurStory won the Best Use of Parse from Facebook Prize and the 1517: Venture Capital Grant. The three students are continuing to work on the app, and they hope to have it available in the App Store soon.

"We're incredibly honored to have won these prizes," says Cliff, "and the recognition and support from both has already propelled our app forward. HackMIT was incredibly well organized and as always it was a phenomenal experience. We were so grateful to have the opportunity to participate in it and to meet and work with such amazing people." 

Linda Chang, Aaron Gokaslan, and Chen Ye of Brown CS, working with Laura Pang of MIT, won an award for best use of the Nasdaq API to "analyze, predict, corelate events" based on market data. Their software lets users visualize the audio derived from various data sets, including the stock market. Drawing on the fact that the brain can distinguish up to seven or eight individual properties of sound and their relative relationships, their method allows users to perceive more than four dimensions of data.

"HackMIT was my first hackathon," says Linda Chang, "and it was an amazing experience. I didn't expect to see such a sheer variety of different projects and ideas, using all kinds of hardware and software, beyond a more 'typical' app or website. For example, the table next to ours had a group that was hacking on an old analog TV! I thought our project was pretty interesting as well, since we were combining sound and financial data. I'd never worked on anything like it, and I'm excited about what future hackathons will bring!"