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Muma College of Business Students Excel at Hackathon Challenge

Hackathon attendees

TAMPA (Jan. 19, 2017) - Competition was fierce among 20 enterprising University of South Florida students who wrapped themselves up with chatbots over the weekend, competing for a cash prizes in a Jabil-sponsored Hackathon.

The event took place over a 12-hour span Saturday. This was the first Hackathon – an event at which creativity and self-expression through technology are rewarded – sponsored by Jabil and hosted by USF.

The competition, which pitted teams of USF students against each other, emphasized the role of IT in manufacturing. The challenge was for students to design and create sustainable software that breaks barriers in technology and can be integrated into a manufacturing setting.

The winning chatbot solution was a "manufacturing manager" that could help with general questions on the production line and was wired to learn the different questions and answers and store them into a database. The winning team, made up of Birupakhya Dash, Imran Shaik, Vivek Singh and Vageesha Maiya, was awarded $1,000 by Jabil to split among the team members.

The competition explored the role of chatbots in manufacturing and challenged the students, most of whom are enrolled in the Muma College of Business, to design and create sustainable software.

Chatbots act as a knowledge base for operators on the manufacturing floor and are like intelligent assistants, Jabil officials said, and the Hackathon is an avenue to examine the various possibilities of the emerging technology.

There is an increasing focus on chatbots within the tech community, as they have been integrated into Facebook Messenger, Twitter feeds etc. The goal of this competition was to explore chatbots' usage in the world of manufacturing.

Five teams, each consisting of four students, competed for first and second place cash prizes. The competition was fierce and the project demonstrations of chatbots were compelling, according to Jabil officials who oversaw the contest.

The second place winners' chatbot was named Mia and could assist a production worker by automatically checking and pulling material within the inventory system. Narrowly finishing second was the team comprised of Syed Zoherer, Shifa Chaudhary, Abhishek Arora and Tubanur Alkan.