Chris Walkowiak/Sun Contributor

Cornell students showcased their cutting-edge technology projects at the Bits of Our Mind event this Thursday in Duffield Hall.

April 23, 2024

Students Display Innovative, Diverse Technology Projects at BOOM Showcase

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Posters and presenters lined the atrium of Duffield Hall on Thursday as students showcased a wide array of cutting-edge technology projects at this year’s Bits On Our Minds event. 

For two hours, students explained the purpose and motivations of their projects to students and faculty who strolled in and out of Duffield.

This year, BOOM featured 44 projects presented by approximately 116 students, according to Danica Rickards, program coordinator in Undergraduate Student Services in the Bowers College of Computing and Information Science.

One project was QueueMeIn, developed by members of the Cornell Digital Tech and Innovation project team. QueueMeIn was created to streamline and promote fairness in office hours, according to team member Richard Gu ’25. The project — which began development in 2017 — enables students to enter a queue of questions, which allows a teaching assistant to answer questions in the order that they are received.

Samaritan Scout, presented by William Rosenthal ’27, is a search engine that connects volunteers with opportunities by scraping the web. The project was developed out of a love for volunteering and a desire to make it more accessible.

“It is easy to help others. … And with the Internet, it only becomes more accessible,” Rosenthal said. “We should be using [the Internet] for good. We should be using [it] to be good samaritans.”

The engine currently only includes the greater New York City and northern New Jersey regions. However, Rosenthal said that expanding the system to the entire Northeast is in the works, as well as adding the ability for organizations to submit posts.

Eight awards were presented at BOOM — one from each of the three departments of Bowers CIS and one from each of the event’s five corporate sponsors — Cisco, Infosys, LinkedIn, Millennium Management and Sandia National Laboratories. Winning teams received a $1,000 award and a trophy.

The team of Rishi Gurjar ’27 and Simon Ilincev ’27 received two awards for their project, ColdCraft — a browser extension for Google Chrome that integrates with LinkedIn and Gmail to help users create cold emails based on their resume and availability. The extension uses a large language model similar to the one behind ChatGPT, according to Ilincev.

“[ColdCraft will] save [students] valuable time to focus on interview prep and the fundamentals of what they’re actually working on,” Gurjar said. “If every email you’re sending is the same thing, minus one or two sentences, you shouldn’t be wasting your time on that.”

Corporate sponsors could elect to send representatives to table during the event, allowing for direct connection and networking with interested students.

Nico Ortega, data scientist at LinkedIn, presented one of the awards to the ColdCraft team. Ortega enjoyed the opportunity to speak with students and demonstrate that jobs with larger firms are more attainable than they seem.

Ortega said that students’ experiences showcasing projects to the public help build necessary communication skills for working in industry.

Prof. Kavita Bala, engineering, the dean of Bowers CIS, said she was impressed by the range of this year’s projects in her remarks at the end of the event.

“It was a full range of ideas across all kinds of use cases and potential user populations,” Bala said. “[It’s] really wonderful that you are able to be so creative as a group.”

Chris Walkowiak is a Sun Contributor and can be reached at [email protected].