Earlier this week, Chowdiah Memorial Hall turned into a racing track of sorts. A miniature affair, young engineers and engineering students were seen displaying their robotic cars and adding finishing touches to the intricate circuitry they had taken months to design.

Bangalore’s mechatronics enthusiasts gathered on Monday to participate in the finale of the Freescale Cup, an annual event organised by Freescale Semiconductor in association with the Indian Institute of Science. The first, second and third prizes were won by teams from Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Erode; Nirma University, Ahmedabad; and Delhi Technological University respectively.

Shivang Trivedi, a third-year engineering student whose team came second, said the programming challenge was to “strike a balance between the control and speed factor of the car”. The participants were given the unassembled kit along with the sample codes four to six months prior to the day of the event. The sample codes were used by the participants to check only the basic functioning of the car. In order to kick-start the car, the participants had to install the codes onto the processor. Of course, the fastest car to complete the race without doing a track cut won.

A cloud-based system for police department

Two students who developed an innovative cloud-based system for managing data for police departments won the first prize at the Unisys Cloud 20/20 Technical Project contest, held here on Friday. Gaurav Kumar and Kumari Shilpi, both students of Pondicherry University, won a purse of Rs. 1 lakh. They created a project on ‘Criminal Investigation Department, Information and Data Analysis System’.

The project is currently being tried out by the Bihar police, Gaurav, a final-year Master of Computer Applications student, said. “We started working on this in December last year, with the aim of creating a flexible and real-time application on the cloud for the police system to reduce their paperwork and to evaluate logistics.” He said that the project could be taken to the next level by integrating it with Google Maps. “Our project will save time and aid the flow of crime information among the police, allowing such data to be made more accessible within the system. It will also present an opportunity to the public to keep track of the crime rate just by logging in to the cloud system.”

Cloud 20/20 is one of India’s largest online technical project contests organised by Unisys India to encourage college students across India to address the technical challenges of cloud computing. Four teams were declared winners, out of 5,200 registrations from 1,000 colleges, for the fourth edition of Cloud 20/20. Organisers said that this edition had seen a 63 per cent increase in registration. Kumar Prabhas, Managing Director, Unisys India, said, “We are impressed with the range of innovative and practical thinking this year’s contest has inspired.”

Talking parallel computing

Parcomptech India 2013, a two-day national conference on parallel computing, was held at the National Institute of Advanced Studies here. Organised by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), the conference had scholars and scientists from premier research and development labs and the High Performance Computing Community attending. The conference, C-DAC’s flagship event in its silver jubilee year, is aimed at providing a platform for knowledge sharing on parallel computing. Inaugurating the conference, N. Balakrishnan, Associate Director, IISc., Bangalore, congratulated C-DAC for its latest achievement in unveiling YUVA II, the half Peta Flop Supercomputer facility, the fastest supercomputing facility now available in the country. He emphasised the need for a matured IT ecosystem to address the capacity, capability and challenges being faced, a release stated. “There exists a huge deficit in trained manpower in parallel computing compounded with deficiency in computing and network resources. The 12th Five Year Plan addresses these issues, and efforts are on to initiate programmes that will scale up current Tera Scale machines to Peta and Exa Scale. Computing paradigm is shifting from pure computing to data centric computing,” he said.

Recognising digital innovation

Bangalore-based mobile technology and advertising firm InMobi has been named one of 2013’s 50 Disruptive Companies in MIT Technology Review’s annual list of the world’s most innovative technology companies. It has been chosen in the Internet and digital media category. Naveen Tewari, CEO and co-founder, InMobi, said in a release, “We are honoured to be listed on the MIT Technology Review’s annual list of most innovative companies. Since we entered the industry five years ago, we have continued to positively disrupt the mobile marketing industry. This accolade is a great recognition of our vision of ‘simplifying mobile’ and the hard work of each one of our employees.”