SIS student wins Facebook Singapore Hackathon for second consecutive year

5 Mar 2015

·       Won the competition in February 2014 with a SIS team, which then went on to clinch third place in the Global Hackathon Finals held at Facebook headquarters.

·       Won the competition again in February 2015, this time with different team members.

·       Will represent Singapore at the Global Hackathon Finals at Facebook headquarters at the end of this year.

Xu Mengxiang of SMU School of Information Systems (SIS) has done it again!

Last year, Mengxiang led a team comprising three other SIS students to victory at the Facebook Singapore Hackathon 2014. The team, which edged out 19 other teams from the Asia-Pacific region, went on to represent the Asia Pacific in the Global Hackathon Finals 2014 which was held in November at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, California, USA. The team performed commendably to emerge third amongst a strong field of 17 teams from around the world.

Encouraged by the win last year, Mengxiang participated in the Facebook Singapore Hackathon 2015 and again emerged champion, this time with different team members who are not SMU students. As a reward for the win, Mengxiang and his team will travel to Facebook HQ at the end of this year to participate in the Global Hackathon Finals.

Said the SIS Master of Applied Information Systems student, “At this year’s Facebook Singapore Hackathon, I learned that technology is moving at breakneck speed and many people and companies struggle to keep up. As this knowledge gap increases, there is an increasing need to simplify technology adoption. After visiting Facebook HQ during the hackathon finals last year and experiencing its ‘Hack’ culture first hand, I have understood that hackathons are designed to be a birthplace for innovations.

“I am very happy to have won the Singapore Hackathon twice in a row. Many great ideas were generated during the competitions that have the potential to become great things. I look forward to the hackathon finals at Facebook HQ at the end of this year. I am sure it is going to be even more exciting this year because of how fast technology develops.”

Mengxiang was the brainchild behind the winning idea called Prettify, which is a service for giving old websites an ‘extreme makeover’. It uses the best web design practices to turn old websites into modern, mobile –friendly and aesthetically-pleasing websites. In the 24-hour Singapore Hackathon, the team built a software engine to automate this makeover process. They designed a system to understand the website’s content, extract key business information, and generate a new website within minutes. The solution could be scaled up to help thousands of old websites get professional design upgrades at affordable prices.

Mengxiang was a recipient of the Standard Chartered iLab @ SMU Award: SMU Innovation Project Award, and the Standard Chartered iLab @ SMU Award: SMU Young Stars Award in 2013. He was on the Dean’s List for 2011 and 2012. He also won the Master of Applied Information Systems Merit Award administered by SMU.

Mengxiang enjoys paragliding, diving, and traveling. In his spare time, he contributes to open source projects in the online community.

 

Last updated on 6 Mar 2015.

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