UALR takes on the world | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, June 4, 2009

UALR takes on the world

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 2:50 PM

Enough with football, sputters my UALR friend. "How could you overlook this (see jump)?" She has a point. UALR grad students are in the world finals of a software design competition.

Woo, Trojans.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (June 4, 2009) –  A team of UALR graduate students are among only five selected to represent the U.S. at the worldwide Microsoft Imagine Cup Software Design Initiative in Cairo, Egypt, next month, a stunning accomplishment for the University in its first year of competing.
UALR’s team, “Special Child”, team members – Master of Science in management information systems majors – developed a software program that proposes to establish a central point of information on adoptable children through Arkansas state agencies and families who have registered to be adoptive parents.
Team members are Joshua Thacker of Little Rock, Sandy Callahan of Conway, formerly of Benton; Shreyasi Dutta, a native of India now living in Little Rock; and Tomica Seals of Marvell.
The teams have been coached by Dr. Janet Bailey, associate professor of management information systems, and James Parrish, assistant professor of management information systems, in UALR’s College of Business.
“I told them in January we have some of the best students in the country at UALR, and it was time the world knew it,” Bailey said. “Although they didn’t believe me at the time, I think we just proved it.”
She said no team from the four states has ever had a team make the national finals much less the world
The Imagine Cup is Microsoft’s largest competition, and the software company invests millions in it each year. Students had to design software around the theme "Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems facing us today." Now in its seventh year, the Microsoft U.S. Imagine Cup attracts more than 200,000 students from more than 100 countries globally to enter the competition.
Special Child won second runner-up in the national Imagine Cup competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass., one of two UALR teams that made it to the nationals.
Earlier this spring, UALR fielded eight teams in the regional competition and was the only university in the Mid South to have a team in the nationals. In fielding eight teams this year, UALR broke the previous record of teams in the semi-finals. Three years ago, Virginia Commonwealth set the previous record of five teams.
The second UALR team in the finals at MIT was PRODIGY — Positioning Research on Dynamic Information Globally Yielded. The team of undergraduate MIS majors proposes using bioinformatics to uncover and eradicate causes of childhood cancer. It harnesses the power of technology to provide a mechanism through which parents, doctors and medical researchers can enter data into a worldwide database. PRODIGY has the support of St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the American Cancer Society, and the Neuroblastoma Foundation.
Those team members were Angela Howell of Mabelvale, Bernard Myers of North Little Rock, Aaron Yates of Bryant, and Emil White of Sherwood, who is also double majoring in accounting.

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