JMU student's search engine project wins $10,000 prize
A James Madison University senior has won an additional $10,000 for his capstone project, which was a finalist in the "Dream It. Code It. Win It." competition sponsored by the MIT Club of New York.
Integrated science and technology major Tim Borny had already won $5,000 for being a finalist in the contest. At the contest he received the "Trading Screen Technology Entrepreneurship Award."
Borny said he was "very satisfied" to receive the award. "The entire experience has proven to be a tremendous opportunity. I feel extremely fortunate to be receiving the Technology Entrepreneurship Award and am honored to have had the chance to travel to New York and meet the other entrants, the individuals that were on the discussion panel and other guests."
Borny came up with the idea for his project, dubbed Oaddo, more than three years ago, but he only learned how to code it within the past year. The idea behind Oaddo is to categorize the wealth of human knowledge that can be found on the Internet in a way that sparks people's imagination, creativity and desire to learn.
While search engines, like Google, make it easy to find what someone is looking for, "The main purpose of Oaddo is to aggregate valuable content on the web and allow users to discover and learn about the core concepts of any discipline they might be interested in even if they don’t know what those core concepts are yet," said Borny. In other words a user has the capability to begin a search without knowing precisely what they’re looking for.
Borny said he still has a lot of ideas to continue developing Oaddo, which is available in a beta version at www.oaddo.org. One of those ideas is to translate it into every language to make it universally accessible. The website is already translated into more than 40 languages.
Borny also envisions getting lots of help to continue Oaddo's development. "Ideally I'd like to try to develop a community around the project that would turn the site into something that people want to spend time doing and want to keep returning to," he said. "There is a lot that needs to happen before that point is reached.”
After graduation, Borny will begin a teaching fellowship at Singularity University in Mountain View, Calif., but he won't stop developing Oaddo.
More information about the "Dream It. Code It. Win It." competition is available on the MIT Club of New York website.