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HCI students earn top honors at Bloomington Civic Code Challenge

2017-05-23
Civic Code Challenge

Two graduate students from the School of Informatics and Computing were awarded first prize in Bloomington’s Civic Code Challenge, a design competition held in conjunction with The Combine, a conference exploring the entrepreneurial spark at the intersection of community, culture, creativity, capital, and code.

Hayden Mills and Dipt Chaundhary, two master’s students in the Human-Computer Interaction/design program at SoIC, designed a web-based application to make public transportation more accessible by allowing riders to purchase digital tickets with a credit card and store them on a smartphone for later use. Their effort was judged on its fit with the design challenge guidelines, its compatibility with Bloomington’s existing IT infrastructure, its security, and the design and ease of use.

The City of Bloomington and Bloomington Transit will test the application in the field, and the results could have a real-world impact on public accessibility to transportation in the future.

“We have an incredibly talented tech community,” said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton. “Our code challenge participants made an important contribution to the City. We’re eager to have more opportunities to see what our developers can create that we can implement in Bloomington.”

David Witwer, who is pursuing a degree in computer science at SoIC, earned second-place honors in the competition.

“We’re incredibly proud of the work that was shown at the Civic Code Challenge by our students,” said Erik Stolterman, senior executive associate dean of SoIC and the chair of the Informatics program. “Our Human-Computer Interaction/design program prides itself on finding usable solutions to everyday problems, and the opportunity to put those skills to use in Bloomington is a great way to connect with the community.”

The Civic Code Challenge was sponsored by The Combine, Bloomington’s Information and Technology Services Department, and the City’s Office of Innovation.

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