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Two teams vie for Imagine Cup

Submitted by Kyle Troutman on April 15, 2011 – 2:18 pmNo Comment

Teams Voltron and MachineHead may sound like names from Battle Bots, but the two UALR teams are actually competing in the software design category of the Microsoft Imagine Cup, a national competition that attracts some of the brightest students in the country.

Representing the College of Business, Team Voltron, which includes seniors Johnathan Tate and Stephen Burks, along with graduate student James Taylor, developed a global dataset, available in 35 languages, that uses Cloud Azure to gather and run data analytics. The program will allow parents of pediatric cancer patients to input exposure factors, genetics and previous diseases, allowing data analysts a better chance at finding the causes of pediatric cancer.

Representing the Donaghey College of Engineering, Information and Technology (EIT), Team MachineHead consists of graduate students Engin Mendi, Albert Moropoulos and Serpil Tokdemir, along with University of Central Arkansas undergraduate Ecehan Bayrak. They developed a text-to-audiovisual synthesizer that helps children with developmental disorders better learn how to read, write, listen and speak.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, 17 percent of children in the United States have a developmental or behavioral disability. Coskun Bayrak, EIT computer science professor and Team MachineHead coach, said, “This is an assistive tool to children with deficiencies and can greatly improve their skills.”

The teams’ coaches are no strangers to the Imagine Cup. Bayrak and Team Voltron coach Janet Bailey, associate professor of management information systems, both attended the cup last year. Bayrak’s team developed an online tool that assisted doctors when predicting disease courses. Bailey has coached at the Imagine Cup for the past three years, with one team taking third and accepting an award in Cairo, and another team representing UALR at the World Imagine Cup in Warsaw, Poland.

Bayrak is already making plans for next year, when his team will be presenting a remote patient-monitoring system that will allow doctors to monitor a patient’s drug schedule and make sure medicines are being administered on time. The program also employs a text-messaging system that reminds patients when drugs need to be taken.

“The atmosphere here is incredible,” Bayrak said. “Students have to think about strategies for their presentations so they get maximum points. We’re excited, happy and nervous; it’s a little bit of everything.”

In the online voting on Facebook, Team Voltron finished third and Team MachineHead finished fifth. Overall results will be available onwww.imaginecup.com.

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