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Laurier University students take Thomson Reuters Best Use of Data challenge at Waterloo Hacks

Scott King and Vaughan Hilts flanked by Clayton Feick and Brian Zubert of Thomson Reuters's data lab. (Photo: Meghan Thompson)
Scott King and Vaughan Hilts flanked by Clayton Feick and Brian Zubert of Thomson Reuters’s data lab. (Photo: Meghan Thompson)

Two Wilfrid Laurier University computer science students, Scott King and Vaughan Hilts, have won the Thomson Reuters Challenge for Best Use of Data at the Waterloo Hacks competition, a hackathon staged at the University of Waterloo’s new 6,000 square foot Velocity Start facility, aimed at post-secondary students held from January 24 to 26.
The duo’s mobile app, called Acre, uses large sets of open data to help users find the optimal city to live in, based on factors such as job title, job demand, average salaries, lifestyle choices and language to narrow down the best choices as represented by an Acre score.
“As we’re both interested in careers in software development, we asked ourselves about the ideal location to live if we are going to work in this field,” said King. “We created something to answer that question and tailored it to the end user.”
It seems likely that the city name most likely to be suggested for the app’s own creators is “Waterloo”.
Hilts had previously worked on Android app development for a platform that powers Laurier’s campus information app, called HawkMobile.
“The computer science faculty members at Laurier do a great job encouraging their students to get involved in events like this,” said Hilts.
The young winners’ professor, Ilias Kotsireas, said, “These two definitely have potential. I’m doubly excited.”
Waterloo Hacks hosted over 165 students, out of a total 570 who applied, from Laurier University, the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College, with competitions sponsored by Manulife, Thomson Reuters and Canadian Tire.

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