May 6, 2009
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A team of students in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Computer and Information Sciences have won the 2009 People's Choice Award at the U.S. region finals of the seventh annual Microsoft-sponsored Imagine Cup international technology competition.
The team, named Aurora Borealis, is made up of three doctoral students. Ritu Arora is a fifth-year student from India. Zekai Demirezen is a second-year student from Turkey, and Yu Sun, also a second-year student, is from China.
Arora Borealis competed against 15 other teams in the U.S. Imagine Cup finals May 2-5 in Cambridge, Mass. While not chosen by a panel of expert judges to represent the United States in the competition's world finals in Cairo, Egypt, later this summer, the UAB team did win over the public, receiving more online votes over two weeks than any other U.S. finalist to earn the People's Choice Award. Team members were given a flip camcorder in recognition of their win.
The team's Imagine Cup technology entry, an innovation dubbed the PDADocter [cq], and corresponding business proposal promise a cost-effective mobile health care infrastructure to address the needs of expectant mothers and their children in underdeveloped countries. The software, which utilizes illustrations of the human body, is a graphical medical expert system that would run on handheld PDA devices and provide patient diagnosis and treatment information.
The UAB students have developed a working prototype of the PDADocter and completed a comprehensive business plan. The team has been approached by at least one private company interested in bringing the PDADocter innovation to market.
More on the Microsoft Imagine Cup
More than 150 teams entered the U.S. portion of the competition before the 15 U.S. finalists were named. More than 300,000 students from 100 countries entered the competition internationally.
The UAB Department of Computer and Information Sciences (CIS) in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics provides a bachelor's degree with the opportunity for students to minor in another discipline as well as participate in co-op programs with local industry. CIS also offers programs of study leading to masters and doctoral degrees, as well as an interdisciplinary bioinformatics program. Find more at www.cis.uab.edu/.