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Atlantic County students win big at Stockton hack-a-thon

Atlantic County students win big at Stockton hack-a-thon

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GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Students from Atlantic County finished with top honors Sunday in Stockton University’s annual computer science competition.

Judges gave awards to a team of Egg Harbor Township High School students who built an interactive add-on to a popular web-based study application and a group of Stockton students who designed a real-time translation and grammar app.

About 85 high school and college students from New Jersey participated in the event, dubbed StockHack. They worked overnight in groups from noon Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday creating an original app, website or service to help solve a problem.

“You really surprised all of us with your creativity and dedication,” said Robert Heinrich, Stockton’s chief information officer and also a judge in the competition.

The top two teams gave presentations on their projects Sunday morning at Alton Auditorium on Stockton’s campus.

One of those teams was a group from Egg Harbor Township High School made up of junior Leo Shao, 16, sophomore Vick Zheng, 15, and junior Alex Cohen, 16.

They built an iMessage app for Quizlet, an online study program popular with students. Cohen said the app works like a video game, allowing friends to compete against each other for correct answers to Quizlet’s study sets.

“Video games are a lot easier and a lot better for reviewing information,” Cohen said during the presentation.

“It (the app) is a competitive, one-on-one, back-and-forth system between two people,” he added.

The other top award went to Huy Vu, 24, of Atlantic City, Christian Mauriello, 26, of Mays Landing, and Sheikh Mahmud, 22, of Egg Harbor Township, all seniors at Stockton.

They designed an iPhone app called Iris that uses the phone’s camera as a scanner to analyze text for grammatical errors. It can also translate a passage of text to more than 100 languages in real-time. It has the potential to be a powerful business tool and travel companion, they said.

During the hack-a-thon, the students could use computer labs, couches and work stations throughout the night. They also had scheduled breaks and meals until polishing their product by the morning.

Each member of the top two teams received a drone as a prize. A panel comprised of Stockton faculty, high school teachers and people with careers in computer science-related fields judged the competition.

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