Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Contests, challenges, competitions!
April 21st, 2014

This past weekend, the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC) hosted its second annual Cleanweb Hackathon. This event was a powerful embodiment of BERC’s mission – to connect, engage, and educate its members in order to foster innovation and action; it was a forum for attendees to learn about the trends in cleanweb, learn about basic application development skills, and build connections with each other. After an evening of mingling and a morning of skills training, the 40+ participants (who hailed from UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, and the greater Bay Area) raced to build web-based applications to address current challenges in energy and water.

Winners of BERC’s 2014 Cleanweb Hackathon

The Hackathon, which was selected as Students for a Smarter Planet project, posed questions across different tracks. Each team selected a track to focus on; one grand prize was awarded for the winner, and individual prizes were awarded within each track. Fueled only by pizza, optimism, and an irrepressible desire to change the world, our teams sought to address these questions:

  • Energy: How can our appliances and devices work for us by saving money and increase the ability of the power grid to make use of intermittent renewable power? Define a new approach to controlling appliances and devices that is responsive to electricity prices and other real-time and predictive data streams (e.g., weather forecasts).  
  • Water: California is an ongoing drought, yet not enough action is being taken by individuals, businesses, and cities to conserve water and lower the collective water footprint of our society! Design a web application or visualization that can lead to better understanding and action on water use in California. Consider both direct water use as well as indirect water use (from our consumption of food and electricity for instance).

Our judges were impressed by the resourcefulness and creativity of the teams. In a matter of hours, they devised innovative ways to meaningfully use energy and water data, employ sensors in entirely new applications, and empower consumers with the data they need to take action on energy and resource issues. And now (drumroll please!), here are the 2014 Cleanweb Hackathon winners:

  • GRAND PRIZE: Smarter Sprinklr - A combination of open source hardware and software to make intelligent home irrigation schedules based on current weather, drought, seasonal, and user-based information.
  • WINNER – WATER: QE Design – Different foods from different places can have the same nutrition, but require vastly different amounts of water. Given all the data available today, what’s the optimal way to eat, to sustain both ourselves and the Earth? QE Design’s solution analyzes USDA and Water Footprint Network data to make diet recommendations.
  • WINNER – ENERGY: Greenvite - The smart, green, social way to organize a meeting and book a conference room with your colleagues. The app analyzes available conference rooms and time slots, and then calculates associated energy use and costs (taking into account weather, HVAC loads, time of day, and other data), so that the least amount of energy is used while saving money.
  • RUNNER-UP – ENERGY: DashPower - The app allows building managers to catalog and forecast energy costs, and compare those to their allotted budget. The app was designed with school facility managers in mind, since energy costs are the 2nd highest line item expenditure for schools after teacher salary.

Please check out our winners’ apps! Although the competition ended this weekend, we hope that these projects will live on (in fact, we’ve got a track record for being the launching pad of cleanweb apps! Check out last year’s winners Watttime and Thermostatly). And while the teams competed for cash prizes, the real winners here are the students and our community. The teams’ innovative yet practical applications inspired us all to consider our everyday use of energy and resources in novel ways.

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Contest Summary:
What will you do with Watson? Introducing the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge. Pitch us your idea for the next groundbreaking Watson-powered mobile app for a chance to join the Watson Ecosystem and receive development and design support from IBM –Turning your idea into a market-changing consumer or business app.
Contest Description:
IBM is looking for the next groundbreaking mobile app. One that leverages the unique power of cognitive computing: natural language processing, machine learning, hypothesis generation, and evaluation – to deliver a new level of user experience… all in the palm of your hand. Do you have a great idea? Tell us what you will do with Watson.
To enter the competition, you must submit your proposal at before March 31st, 2014. Once you’ve submitted your proposal, a panel of judges will conduct two phases of judging. The first phase will narrow the field to 25 finalists. Those finalists will receive access to the Watson API and sandbox so they can build a prototype to be judged in the second phase. From there, the top 5 finalists will pitch their concepts to a panel of IBM judges in a live session. The judges will then determine three winners.
The IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge is open to organizations that have mobile developers who want to create a unique mobile app or experience that is powered by Watson. Applicants, if selected as finalists, should be prepared and equipped to develop a working prototype and pitch their concept to the IBM judges.
Prize Description:
IBM will help three winning teams turn their prototype into a viable commercial app. Winners will join the Watson Ecosystem, and receive design and development consulting from IBM experts.

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We are Alina LaPotin and Nicholas Phillips, civil and mechanical engineering students from the University of Texas at Austin chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World. This year we are very excited to be Co-chairs of the Alternative Energy Challenge! This will be the first year that ESW will host the Alternative Energy Challenge which was previously hosted by the Student Engineering Council with hopes that it will continue to attract motivated engineering students with a passion for alternative energy, creativity, and innovation.

The intent of the competitioaeclogon is for students to create novel ideas for the generation of power using sustainable and renewable methods. In the first phase of the competition, teams will submit a written report detailing their design and the logistics involved in producing it.  The top three teams will then be granted a prototyping budget to actually create their device and present it  before a panel of judges who will ultimately select a winning team. The competition is run entirely by students, for students, to not only foster innovation in the field of alternative energy but to give competitors the opportunity to gain practical experience in product research and development.

At this stage we are finalizing our budget, and working on publicity so we can announce our first informational session which will be held on February 6th. We would like to thank Michelle Huddleston, a second year Mechanical Engineering Student at UT, for creating this amazing logo for AEC you see on the left.

We are very grateful to Wendy Murphy and IBM Students for a Smarter Planet. We wouldn’t have been able to host the competition this year if it wasn’t for your generous support and continuous commitment to student-led sustainability initiatives.

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January 29th, 2014

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Here’s an idea to get people to go green.

You can see more at this link on YouTube.

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Finals coming up on February 6, 2014  –  Go to the web page to vote for your choices for best.


From Latin America, Geekie is the top startup company from the regional finals in Mexico City.

Reengen, Temando and TMC represent Eastern Europe, Australia and southest Asia, respectively.

Shopa brings the best of Europe, while Nova Lumos is the pride of Israel.

The champions of North America are Onfarm and Coriell Life Sciences.

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