Capstone 2014: Creatively solving information problems

The iSchool’s signature Capstone event featured 111 projects from 285 graduating students, making it the largest Capstone ever. The iSchool has 330 students graduating this year and not everyone does a Capstone. Projects were judged to determine which had the most potential for commercialization and social impact. Attendees were encouraged to vote for the audience choice awards. (Winners pictured left.) 

Held annually, Capstone showcases the breadth of skills and expertise students develop in the B.S. in Informatics (INFO), M.S. in Information Management (MSIM) and the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) programs.

Students create posters to demonstrate how they use technology, analysis and problem solving as tools to solve information problems for organizations and communities.

Capstone project collaborators include organizations from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, and each project represents a concrete example of what it means to design and build novel applications of technology that meet the needs of people.

More than 800 people attended the event, which was held in the newly renovated Husky Union Ballroom. Award winners receive cash prizes from the iSchool and sponsoring organizations. This year’s award sponsors included inome, ProQuest and Extrahop. ProQuest sponsored the first-ever award for online MLIS presentations.

Judges included: Allyson Carlyle, iSchool Associate Professor; Michael Hirsch, VP Product Management ProQuest, Leslie Holt, CEO Holt Consulting, Angela Nolet, Virtual Library Services, King County Library System; Alex Wade, Director, Scholarly Communication, Microsoft Research; Chris Coward, Co-Founder, Principal Research Scientist, and Director of TASCHA; Scott Dalessandro, Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Fred Hennige, Innovation Architect, Alaska Airlines; Neal Myrick, Corporate Social Responsibility Director, Tableau Software/Tableau Foundation; Delight Robert, Senior Online Safety Strategist, Child Protection Specialist Microsoft; Prakash Kondepudi, President Intelius; Desmond Murray, Senior Director, Information Systems, Cisco; Jay Reitz, VP Engineering,; Luciana Simoncini, Ph.D., Director of Research Commercialization, Washington Research Foundation; Derek Streat, Entrepreneur in Residence, UW Center for Commercialization.

A Tagboard of the social media tweets and Facebook posts was featured at the event for the first time this year.

Social Impact Award

First place, $1500 prize:  MIST – Cloud Infrastructure for Environmental Disaster Relief created by Evan Griffith (INFO), Ian Palmgren (INFO), Brennen Smith (INFO)
MIST is a ruggedized, portable server infrastructure designed to bring the power of cloud technology to isolated emergency situations. The team also developed an Android application that automatically transfers data between MIST and other rescue teams. With MIST, rescue workers can rapidly collaborate and share information between teams, reducing avoidable mistakes, and helping them save more lives. 

Honorable mention, $500 prize: Big Data and Poverty Reduction: Adoption and Diffusion in Social Networks created by Anikate Singh (Full-Time MSIM), Chitra Raman (Full-Time MSIM), Yan Guo (Full-Time MSIM), Joshua Manoj Cherian (Full-Time MSIM), Devin Luco (Full-Time MSIM)
The team built an interactive web application to visualize patterns of technology adoption and diffusion within social networks. These patterns are derived from the analysis of CDR (Call Detail Records) and mobile money transaction histories.

Commercialization Potential Award

First place, $1500 prize: Improve Your Odds: PEACOCKS and the Evolution of Skillset Matching created by Karen Dahmen (Mid-Career MSIM), Amy Neely (Mid-Career MSIM), Jacob A. Morris (Mid-Career MSIM)
PEACOCKS provides a framework and tool prototype that systemizes human characteristics such as skills, experience levels, and growth interests, then applies a taxonomic schema to match project requirements with optimal team members within an organization.

Honorable mention, $500 prize: TravelMeet created by Adrian D’Sa (Full-Time MSIM), Lifeng Wang (Full-Time MSIM), Ruochen Ren (Full-Time MSIM), Katie Ho (Full-Time MSIM)
TravelMeet is an Android app designed for travelers who want to meet others, find activities, and experience new cultures in a fun and spontaneous way. TravelMeet also helps local businesses and event organizers connect with out-of-towners. 

Online Presentation Award

First place, $500: SeeYourChart Tutorial Project created by Annie Wescott (MLIS)
SeeYourChart offers video instruction and on-site navigation to help address confusion, alleviate frustration, and improve users' abilities to access important health information. Each tutorial is designed with consideration for the cognitive, physical, and learning style needs of users. 

Honorable mention, $100: Voices on the World Stage created by Tiffany Coulson (MLIS)
Through a process which focused on the journal entries, women’s advocacy groups are shown real solutions to global problems while maintaining the integrity of individual experiences. 

Audience Choice Awards, $300 prize to each team

The Ghost Anatomy Project created by Ashish Chandwani (INFO), Ngoc Do (INFO), Connie Huang (INFO), Ted Tagami (INFO), Alyssa Trinh (INFO). The Ghost Anatomy Project is a 3D volumetric display which allows users to interact with a holographic-like, anatomically correct model of the human body.
MIST – Cloud Infrastructure for Environmental Disaster Relief created by Evan Griffith (INFO), Ian Palmgren (INFO), Brennen Smith (INFO). See description for first place social impact award.
Waitless: Digital Dining Experience created by Alex Fredrickson (INFO), Christopher Jimenez (INFO), Alex Petrovich (INFO), Jeremy Sherman (INFO). Waitless is a mobile application used in restaurants to improve the customer dining experience, bringing it into the digital age.
• Fidgt created by Kartik Rishi (INFO), Phillip Pasqual (INFO), Katlyn Edwards (INFO), Kendall Morgan (INFO), Carlo Valentin (INFO). Fidgt is a touch-enabled ring that allows runners to control their smartphone in an eyes-free manner.