AT FACEBOOK’S GLOBAL HACKATHON FINALS 2015
It was an exciting moment for Team Tartanium , a team of 4 including SRM University, alumni Sumanth Reddy Pandugula, current graduate student at University of Illinois at Chicago", and Carnegie Mellon University students: Avi Romanoff , Nikhil Choudhary and Tiffany Jiang , when they took home the 1st place at the Facebook's Global Hackathon Finals 2015.
The fight to the finish was tough: 78 finalists, 21 teams from 11 countries. Hackers from Tel Aviv(Israel), Singapore, Moscow, Switzerland, Warsaw(Poland), Scotland, Barcelona(Spain), Canada, London and teams from within the USA(MIT, CMU ,YALE, Georgia Tech, University of California Berkeley, Princeton, Northwestern, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania and many other top colleges ) were flown to the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park for a three day long intense competitive event.
Sumanth was earlier part of the team that won the Facebook API award at Tartan Hacks, CMU's own hackathon, were the prize was a ticket to compete in the finals, which they did. The project Auto TBT or Automatic Throwback Thursday, was done to reduce human effort in posting throwback thursadypictures, a very popular hashtag in many social media websites.
In the finals, Team Tartanium, which Sumanth and his team won, created (Onreel.news), which allows tracking developing stories around the world in real time through videos taken by direct witnesses. Markers appear on the map in response to Instagram videos being uploaded in real time. Hovering over these dots allows one to see recent hashtags people have used at that location. Clicking on a hashtag brings up a gallery of relevant Instagram videos, in order of most recent upload, in a grid format. “We made it easy to spread videos that are of importance easily with the built in social share functions”, said Sumanth. “We want to empower the user to go ahead and turn videos viral by sharing through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Email and more”, he added.
The team hopes to expand this in the future to include videos from other platforms (ex: Vine). This hack idea came out of the frustration of not knowing where to find raw, unedited footage taken by those who were experiencing world news first-hand. A case in point being the recent Paris attacks where people actually had footages from the victims but did not reach many because of content altering and slow propagation in the print and news media.
The inspiration for Sumanth’s foray into the competition was the time he spent at Carnegie Mellon as an exchange student. Every year SRM University sends several hundred students on a life changing experience of spending time abroad in 78 leading universities across the world.