JMU student's search engine project in the running for $20,000 prize

by Eric Gorton


A JMU senior has won $5,000 for his capstone project and he's in the running for the grand prize of $20,000 in the Dream it. Code it. Win it. competition sponsored by the MIT Club of New York.

Integrated science and technology major Tim Borny will be traveling to New York City for the Wednesday, April 30 awards ceremony, where he hopes his innovative take on an Internet search engine will prevail.

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 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.

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Published: Friday, April 25, 2014

Last Updated: Friday, May 24, 2019

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