Timetable generator wins McMaster software contest

Originally posted on McMaster Daily News


What happens when you challenge computing and software engineering students to answer some tough questions?

You get some very interesting computer programs as responses.

Christopher Anand found this out first-hand after he challenged students to the inaugural Indellient Software Entrepreneurship Competition.

Student projects entered into the contest included a device for the elderly that notifies family members of emergencies, a social network for art history buffs and a mobile card game app.

Another entry modified the software used in iClickers — teaching tools used in lecture halls — to allow students to vote on each other’s classroom questions.

“There is a huge reservoir of ideas in computing and software,” says the associate professor, “the students know the technology, they just need encouragement to implement.”




The competition gave them just that, in the form of both peer recognition and a $1,500 prize.

Fourth-year student Dillon Dixon, the contest’s winner, came up with a piece of software that generates a customized timetable for student classes.

He initially created it for McMaster, but has now expanded it to include Lakehead, Western, the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo.

Dixon recently met with McMaster alumnus Adam Caromicoli, managing partner at Toronto-based tech company Indellient. Caromicoli says he was thoroughly impressed by all of the contestants.

“I was inspired by the work these young students did for the competition,” he says. “They really outdid my expectations.”

An electrical engineering management graduate, Caromicoli says today’s grads are well prepared for the real world.

“I don’t remember anyone being this prepared for taking on the challenges of developing a new technology when I was a student,” he says.

Anand hopes to run the software competition again at the end of the next school year.