IT Breakthrough: Young Experts Teach Computers to Make Decisions

Education, medicine, safety, radio electronics, and many other fields. The contest “IT Breakthrough” (IT Proryv) gives students and young specialists an opportunity to contribute to these areas by creating new solutions and technologies. This year two ITMO University teams became the winners. Its’ stakeholders talked about their projects – a highway patrol assistant and an automated curricula planner.

In 2016 students and postgraduates from all over Russia presented their IT projects for the fifth time. The contest aims to team up and support experts in different fields to implement new technological solutions into various areas of life.

Traffic: collisions without jams

Every day St. Petersburg and other cities suffer from hundreds of traffic accidents. Currently the highway patrol service complies with the following rule: they come to an accident location based on the time it was reported to the police. The problem is that police dispatchers who supervise patrol cars don't have enough time and facilities to take into account all factors and details. Usually accidents affect traffic in different ways. For instance, two collisions that happened in the same district at the same time block different traffic lanes. It means that it is more reasonable to remove aftereffects of a crash, which provokes traffic jams before others and then deal with accidents that don’t affect traffic or whose aftereffects are not very crucial.

Olga Kozyreva,student at High Performance Computing Departmentand Yury Chechetkin, student at Volgograd State Technical University, who took part in the contest, presented a project called “Automated Highway Patrol Dispatcher.” Taking into account all features of accidents the system sets priorities. A decision will depend on accident location and time, amount of traffic jams, recall time and so forth. The technology operates using computer-aided learning and cluster analysis. The students gained the highest score in the category “The Best Mobile Application.”

“Currently policemen use special devices that store information on insurance documents and drivers licences and also help to process documents. Our project includes a mobile application, which will give them more options,” said Ms. Kozyreva.

Person-Focused Education

Maria Karpova and Vadim Shmelev, ITMO University PhD students, offered the best solution in the category “IT in Education.” “Your Course” project develops individual training programs taking into account background, preferences and purposes of every student. Each course offered by the system includes such parameters as duration, language and educational tools as well as the number of competencies needed to start the course and the ones that students will obtain after graduation. The main principle of this system is consequential education. It means that knowledge received at a course is necessary to start the next one. To determine and analyze interconnection of competencies the technology uses genetic algorithms and so-called Bloom’s Taxonomy. It includes classification rules of learning objectives. According to this theory, there are six cognitive levels such as “remember,” “understand,” “apply,” “analyze,” “evaluate,” and “create.” It also admits several types of knowledge.  Using connections of all these levels and types one constructs algorithms that determine sequence of educational “steps".

“The algorithms help to plan classes correctly without extra modules that are useless for gaining required competencies. Thus students will have no problems with their final tests and will manage to apply theoretical knowledge to practice such as hands-on project or lab work,” added Ms. Karpova.

“Your Course” also includes evaluation methods that will help professors to grade students’ projects. Currently authors of the project analyze disciplines and courses at High Performance Computing Department so as to teach the system to make curricula plans.

All participants of the contest are going to take part in other contests and develop their own projects. “IT Breakthrough” takes place every year. It is organized by “Roselectronica” Ltd, ITMO University as well as startup accelerator SUM IT. In 2016 the whole amount of prize money was two million rub.  

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