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Grainger Computing Innovation Prize

The world needs your creativity to solve health disparities, climate change, and outdated infrastructure.

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Take on Some of the World’s Most Challenging Problems

Illinois Tech students are called to create inventive technology solutions to the challenges that society faces today through the Grainger Computing Innovation Prize. The aim of the competition is to build interdisciplinary teams of students to exhibit their computing skills in big data, artificial intelligence, and data science projects with the potential to positively impact society. Teams are encouraged to tackle projects in “Computing with Data for Social Good” to address real-world problems in education, health, energy, public safety, transportation, economic development, sustainable smart infrastructure, climate change, and more. Entries must include an element of computing and demonstrate the potential impact of the work.

Illinois Tech is purpose-driven. We harness the collective power of difference to drive innovation for all. The Grainger Computing Innovation Prize reflects this purpose as we call students to bring different ways of thinking to tackle some of the world's most critical challenges.

Eligibility 

Interdisciplinary solutions and creative thinking are key, but all entries must involve an element of computing.

To compete in the Grainger Computing Innovation Prize, students must be pursuing an undergraduate or master’s degree and must be registered at Illinois Tech for fall 2022. International students are eligible and welcomed to participate in this competition. 

The Grainger Computing Innovation Prize is a team-based competition, with each team comprised of two to five students. The recommended team size is four or five students. At least one undergraduate student is required in each team. Doctoral students are not eligible for the prize but are encouraged to participate as mentors.

Students may register as a team or as an individual. We try to help individual registrants form a team.

The Competition

The Grainger Computing Innovation Prize will go through three stages during the fall semester 2022:

  1. Round 1 September 12: teams will submit Concept Notes describing their ideas. If a team’s submission is selected, they will move on to the next round.
  2. Round 2 October 19: teams will be invited to develop a detailed prototype of their idea. If a team’s presentation is selected, they will move on to the finals.
  3. Finals November 9: teams will present their ideas in front of a top-tier panel of judges.

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2022 Grainger Computing Innovation Prize Winners

Grainger Computing Innovation Prize 2022 - Team StarPay

StarPay solves the financial access gap for millions of unbanked Mexicans through a cross-compatible, simple-to-use stablecoin payments solution. Stablecoins are the future of digital payments, with Mexico's government launching their own Centralized Digital Bank Currency (Crypto-Peso) by 2025. Mexico will struggle to build local, crypto-native payment networks. Through its simple, cross-platform design, StarPay aims to become the go-to payment solution for the future of Mexico's CDBC infrastructure. With 90% of all transactions being in cash, fragmented smartphone capabilities, and inconsistent internet coverage, there is a great need for a simple, cross-compatible payment network.

Grainger Computing Innovation Prize 2022 - Team GreenGrid

GreenGrid is a blockchain-powered microgrid system that efficiently manages renewable power and power distribution. By anticipating future energy prices, the GreenGrid smart metering algorithm can minimize a user’s power bill by ensuring that they have cheap power based on their energy usage habits. GreenGrid does this by creating tokenized blockchain offerings for trading energy without the issues of cost or complexity that traditionally come from using renewable energy certificates (RECs).

Grainger Computing Innovation Prize 2022 - Team DonateMates

DonateMates is a food courier app for restaurant food donations. The complex issue of food insecurity is not due to a lack of food, but a lack of access to food. While there are more than fifty-four million food-insecure Americans, there is more than seventy-two billion pounds of food wasted annually. Food donation logistics remains a major barrier to donations. By partnering with restaurants and independent food couriers, the DonateMates project proposes a cost effective solution to food donation deliveries.