CSIDC Ranks Competition Finalists

The world finals of the inaugural Computer Society International Design Competition (CSIDC) were held in Washington, D.C. at the end of June. Competing for the top prizes were ten finalist teams representing universities throughout the world. The IEEE Computer Society, the competition sponsor, limited participants in the inaugural competition to 50 teams. Ten teams of judges reviewed design and implementation reports to select the finalists who journeyed to Washington for the competition finals.

After two hours of deliberations, the CSIDC judging panel, made up of computer engineering experts from both academia and industry, selected McMaster University's heart monitor healthcare information appliance project as the first prize winner. Said Professor Edmund L. Gallizzi from Eckerd College, Chair of the judging panel, "The ten finalist teams were all outstanding. It was obvious that a tremendous amount of work went into all the projects."

On the winning team were Rachita Kohli, Ajay Arora, Wai-Yin Shum, Christopher Lambacher and Joshua Capogna, who worked under faculty mentor Markad Kamath. Their project developed a compact, portable unit intended to provide a more timely, convenient and less expensive alternative to current heart monitoring devices. The device would be worn on the waist of patients considered medium to high risk for heart ailments, and alert both them and their physicians to any potentially fatal heart rhythms in real-time. It also has messaging and other functionality to assist users in maintaining cardiac health.

The Computer Society created the CSIDC to challenge undergraduate students with a real-world computer engineering problem and the opportunity to address that problem with a team in the manner they will work after they complete their education. "The first competition was a tremendous success," observed Competition Chair Bruce D. Shriver. "Several of the projects have great potential to evolve into real commercial products. Based on this initial success, the Computer Society will now proceed with plans for next year’s competition, and will double the number of teams competing, to 100."

CSIDC 2000 began with applications from teams of undergraduate students at 180 universities from all over the world. The 50 teams selected at random to compete in this year’s event were challenged, "to develop an informal functional specification for and then design and implement a prototype Information Appliance (IA) that is aimed at improving public health by helping people become more directly involved in their own health care. Each team was provided with a project kit containing several thousands of dollars worth of hardware and software, with very modest expenditures allowed for additional materials. The projects were judged by their creativity, technical excellence, proper application of engineering design principles, and the degree to which they met the stated objective of the project. Only the teams with the top ten projects—as judged by written reports submitted in May—were invited to compete in this week’s live demonstrations for the final judging panel.

The ten finalists and their projects are listed below.

First Place: McMaster University (Canada), "The Total Heart Care Unit"

Second Place: National Taiwan University (Taipei), "Family Health Guard"

Third Place: Poznan University of Technology (Poland), "Health Care Information Appliance"

Fourth Place: Slovak University of Technology (Slovakia), "AMADIA: Asthma Monitoring and Allergy Data Information Appliance"

Fifth Place: University of Waterloo (Canada), "Diabetes Internet Appliance"

Honorable Mention:

Boston University (USA), "Health Pilot: Your Digital Health Assistant"

Moscow State University (Russia), "A System for Weariness Condition Diagnosis"

Technical University of Plovdiv (Bulgaria), "Internet Appliance for Woman's Barrenness"

University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, China), "Personal Medical Expert: Health Care Information"

University of Illinois (USA), "Embedic"

For full details on the CSIDC, including descriptions and presentations on all of the finalist projects, visit

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