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University of Southampton Malaysia

University of Southampton Malaysia students win ‘Most Impactful Project Award at BlockchainSPIRIT Hackathon, Singapore

Published: 11 July 2018
UoSM students with their cash prize
L to R: Delveer Singh, Do Wen Rei, Anthony Law (NEM Blockchain trainer), and Chia Tze Hank.

Three students from the University of Southampton Malaysia (UoSM) have become the youngest mavericks to win an award in a hackathon designed for professionals. The team won the ‘Most Impactful Project’ award for their app that improves court recordings during the BlockchainSPIRIT Hackathon at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The team was comprised of engineering students Do Wen Rei, Delveer Singh and Chia Tze Hank. They created the ‘Legal-chain’, a solution that uses Microsoft’s speech recognition technology to generate court transcripts for legal proceedings. The solution then stores this information in NEM’s blockchain – a distributed ledger technology – to make the recordings unalterable.

‘This is engineering at its best,’ said Prof. Rebecca Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor (ASEAN) and CEO of UoSM. ‘Having students take the learning from their course and use it to create practical solutions embodies our University Mission to change the world for the better. We are incredibly proud of the determination, passion and inventiveness of our students and delighted that their efforts have been recognised by digital leaders in this way.’

Speaking about the event, Wen Rei said, ‘Being new to blockchain technologies, we had been struggling to choose which platform to use. There are many different platforms for blockchain such as Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Composer, NEM, and so on. We were fortunate that the technical trainers were patient to help us get started. We did not expect to win this prestigious award but we are very proud to have had our project recognised in this way.’

Being one of the youngest participants in this hackathon, the team received coaching from Anthony Law, one of the event’s technical trainers. 'He [Anthony] taught us how to use the platform and the fundamentals needed to understand blockchain technology. He explained us the NEM platform, then me and Wen Rei coded the blockchain part while Tze Hank worked on Microsoft’s speech API as well as the user interface’, explained Delveer, an engineering foundation year student at UoSM.

Blockchain technology is the underlying platform used in Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency.  Despite it being a new technology, recent platform innovations suggest the potential benefits of blockchain adoption for various sectors including banking, insurance, legal, and government. 

‘Our initial plan was to attend the workshop to learn more about this relatively new technology' said Tze Hank, also an engineering foundation year student at UoSM. ‘And despite how advanced it was for us, we persisted and created a blockchain project for the legal sector the following morning.’

The two-day hackathon challenge proved to be a life-changing experience for the team. According to Wen Rei, it was a great opportunity to try out their ideas and receive feedback from the judges.

Meanwhile for Tze Hank and Delveer, this experience has given them the confidence to join more competitions in the near term. The duo previously made it in the nationals in the Microsoft Imagine Cup, and they hope to make it to the regionals next year.

Blockchain developers are currently in short supply and hot demand. According to freelance talent marketplace, Upwork blockchain developers is among the top 20 fastest-growing roles.

The University of Southampton Malaysia has recognised this need and is working with industry partners to educate and develop the next generation of students into interesting and exciting roles in engineering.

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