Penn State student team reaches top 50 in Google challenge

September 21, 2022

Credit: Provided by Chatterbox/Penn State

By Ashley WennersHerron

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Google Developer Student Club was the only team from the United States to earn a place among the top 50 teams in the world for Google’s 2022 Solution Challenge. The competition tasks student clubs to use Google technology to solve for one or more of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The Penn State team includes Chen-Kuan Liao, Ved Tushar Walavalkar, Nicholas Chan and Selina Fu, all third-year students majoring in computer science in the College of Engineering. They developed an app, called “Chatterbox,” to contribute to Goal 4, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

According to the team, Chatterbox serves to expose users to ideas they would not normally come across in other social media platforms, where users typically customize their feeds and algorithms work to present material with which the user is most likely to engage.

Chatterbox does this by asking users to agree or disagree with a series of questions. Their answers sort them into a digital room with one idea as the focus, such as whether education should be mandatory. Users can post their thoughts, like or disklike other posts and comment.

The team members each won a t-shirt, certificate and mentorship from Google employees and other experts to refine their solution. Ten teams were selected from this cohort of 50, and three teams were named final winners on July 28. Learn more on the Google Developers website.


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