Liautaud Students at SAP TechEd

Five Liautaud MIS students recently returned from the SAP TechEd conference, which ran from October 17-23 at The Venetian in Las Vegas. The students - Sameer Deshpande, Pravesh Shenoy, Karthikeyan Venugopal, Chiranjib Ghorai, and Manohar Lakshmikanthaiah  - represented UIC last April at the Kraft Data Drive competition, where they took first place in the Clustering Challenge.

Their victory in April came with an invitation to participate in the annual SAP InnoJam and Data Genius competitions at SAP TechEd. Sameer Deshpande, one of the UIC team members, shares his experience of the conference below.

SAP InnoJam

In the SAP InnoJam competition, university students and SAP enthusiasts create business solutions using SAP’s HANA platform. At 30 hours, InnoJam is a bit of a marathon. This year's challenge focused on optimization in health care processes. The goal was to create some improvement, something that would benefit the experience and efficiency of healthcare practitioners. We formed teams on the evening of the 17th, 13 teams in all, with a good mix of students and SAP professionals. Our team was students-only, and, as in the Data Drive competition, we were representing Liautuad.

Our challenge for the competition was encouraging kids to choose healthy food over junk food. The process involved creating an SDK/platform to track a kid’s eating habits, map those to their weight, height and weekly exercise time, and then publish the data to third parties who could create applications to influence the child’s behavior. We focused on building the product that would influence a 6-11 year old child’s eating habits while generating some profit for the organization and some fun for the child. It was a daunting task, but we were up for it.

We started at 8:00 a.m. on the 18th; we had a long day ahead. First, we created the platform and visualized how a game could  be built to demonstrate it. HANA was new to us, so creating the platform itself was tedious. But we managed. We gathered data from external devices like fit-bit and other wearables, along with other databases, web forms and school portals. This gave us a huge repository of information to work with, but took us through the day and deep into the night.

Around 2:00 a.m., running on no sleep, we started building the prototype for a game we called “FeedMe,” in which an avatar of a child, built using the APIs exposed by the platform, reacted to user commands based on the eating and exercise habits that were fed into HANA. The avatar was sluggish or quick depending on whether the real-world habits were healthy or unhealthy, and the system could prompt “what to eat to strengthen this avatar.” (Courtesy of SAP, we ourselves were plied with great food throughout the competition!)

Our deadline for developing solutions was 2 p.m., which snuck up quickly. The signal was given - the time had come for the judges to evaluate the teams’ work. We held our breath as we watched the panel walk among the 13 teams. Sadly, we didn’t make it into the top 6. But, exhausted as we were, we were still proud of our work, which yielded a viable solution.

Data Genius –"Vizathon"

The Data Genius Vizathon was a 3-hour analytics competition sponsored by SAP’s Lumira division. 3 hours felt like instant turnaround compared to the 30-hour marathon! In the Vizathon, teams use Lumira’s visualization tools to combine data, real world situations and organizational needs to yield insights into an organization's practices.

This year, teams worked with the “Made in a Free World” nonprofit to determine how much child labor goes into a given product and the implications of that child labor for the producer. Our UIC group was split into 2 different teams to collaborate with students from other universities of the SAP University Alliance.

We had 2 hours to dive into the dataset. With the help of SAP Lumira experts, we generated some meaningful insights for a supply chain manager at a retail organization. Again, sadly, we failed to make the top 3, but it was a great opportunity to work with Lumira alongside students from other schools.

 For more photos of SAPTechEd and information about SAP events, visit the SAPTechEd gallery.