Two CS students among winning team of Waterloo students at CBC/Radio-Canada’s 2019 Hackathon

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A team of five students from the University of Waterloo has won the CBC Digital Products Award at CBC/Radio-Canada’s Hackathon 2019, the public broadcaster’s first-ever national bilingual hackathon held simultaneously at the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto and at Maison de Radio-Canada in Montreal.

The competition ran from February 1 to 3, 2019 and was open to participants from across Canada to shine a spotlight on innovation and leading-edge technology in relation to this year’s hackathon theme of digital personalization. More than 400 teams applied, of which 16 gathered over of a weekend to create a new digital product or service to boost CBC/Radio-Canada’s engagement with their audiences.

Team Dysonsphere, a group of tech-savvy students, comprised of Jonathan Smith (BCS, BBA, 2019), Angela Krone (BASc, Nanotechnology Engineering, 2019), Charlotte Baker (Global Business and Digital Arts, 2020), Margie McCloskey (BA Peace and Conflict Studies and Political Science, 2020) and Zi Kai Chen (BCS, BBA, 2019), won the CBC Digital Products Award.

Their entry, a prototype called All News for All People, recommends podcasts using relevant segments for each individual while avoiding filter bubbles — a situation that arises when a website algorithm selectively serves only information to a user that conforms to and reinforces his or her own beliefs. Each member of Dysonsphere received a PlayStation 4 and $1,000. 

photo of Team DysonSphere

Team Dysonsphere, L–R: Jonathan Smith, Angela Krone, Charlotte Baker, Margie McCloskey, Zi Kai Chen

Watch Team Dysonsphere's pitch

“When CBC/Radio-Canada organizes an event with the aim of inspiring dialogue and encouraging reflection, you can be sure that innovative ideas and original concepts will be at the heart of the discussions and debated in a productive, collaborative atmosphere,” said Catherine Tait, President and CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada. “The CBC/Radio-Canada Hackathon is a stimulating and rewarding challenge that will help keep our digital platforms at the cutting edge of technology while performing at a high level and remaining relevant.”

Sponsored by Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, CBC/Radio-Canada offered Canadian residents the chance to take part in this friendly tech competition, either on-site in Toronto or Montreal, or remotely via online access. The event underscores CBC/Radio-Canada’s commitment to personalizing its digital products and enabling public discourse.

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