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Hackathon Triumph: DVC Student & Team Secure 1st Place at UC Berkeley's Cal Hacks Competition

Nov 20, 2023

Saurabh (Sunny) Jayaram, a computer science student at DVC and his teammates recently won 1st Place at UC Berkeley's Cal Hacks 10.0, under the InterSystems Challenge, at the Metreon in San Francisco. 

“As a full-time student at DVC, I was particularly excited to represent my school at Cal Hacks. I wanted DVC to be recognized by the likes of UC Berkeley and the sponsors of the competition,” Sunny said.  

Cal Hacks, a non-profit entity, organizes the world's largest collegiate hackathon annually, uniting creative thinkers to innovate and transform the AI landscape. 

According to Sunny, the competition at Cal Hacks was unlike anything he had seen before. “UC Berkeley attracts brilliance from around the world, and with over 750 participants from universities across North America, Cal Hacks 10.0 was no exception.” 

Sunny had teamed up with students from UC Berkeley, Santa Clara University, and Southern Methodist University to work on a project they named MultiMed Vision+ which for him, hit close to home. 

“Our project aimed to alleviate issues such as high cholesterol and high blood sugar by leveraging cutting edge AI language-vision models, alongside a custom-trained AI model to assess health risks through an easy-to-use smartwatch." 

"The idea first came to our team when I mentioned my grandma was struggling to keep track of her cholesterol medications and food intake. We realized new AI technology could help alleviate the problem in a way that's accessible to the elderly. " 

Sunny is no stranger to hackathons. Since 2022, he's won awards and placements at six hackathons, including the most recent one at UC Berkeley. “I like to think that my success is simply a result of my innate attraction toward innovation and the exploration of new ideas.” 

What keeps this inventive student motivated to compete year after year? Sunny says it’s about raising the hopes of other community college students and inspiring them to aim high.  

“I wanted to break stereotypes that I've heard about community college students, and hopefully inspire others to truly give it their all and aim for victory - even when competing against students from the most prestigious institutions in America. “ 

What hackathon is Sunny looking forward to next? “For now, I have my eyes set on TreeHacks by Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's annual student-run hackathon, HackMIT