A member of the class of 2003 snaps up a major international award and an important student award.
WORDS: Mr David Ashton
Fifth-year University of Melbourne computer science and information systems student Edward Hooper (’03) was a member of a four-person team which has won a major international computer science student competition.
Made up of students from four Australian universities, the ‘Oz Dream Team’ contrived an innovative computerised system for managing farm water resources – certainly a highly topical innovation in a time of water shortages in so many parts of Australia. They won the world’s most prestigious student technology competition, Microsoft’s ‘Imagine Cup’.
The team had previously won the Australian Imagine Cup, and were flown to Paris for the world finals, where they were successful against 200,000 of the world’s best software programmers from more than 60 countries.
The Oz Dream Team’s software program, called SOAK or ‘Smart Operational Agricultural toolKit’, offers farmers a software dashboard of numerous reports and tools, designed to help them better manage their limited water resources – all from a desktop computer.
Using satellite maps of each farm property via Virtual Earth, SOAK oversees the system and accesses GPS sensors placed around paddocks, to measure and record water-related oil moisture and dam depth. Farmers can also get an instant update via a SMS on a mobile phone or a personal digital assistant on their water storage volumes.
Edward and his team have been invited to attend an ‘innovation accelerator’ course in the US, to meet with venture capitalists and – they hope – make their dream a reality. ‘We would love to see this project come to fruition and one day really make a difference to Australian and world farming practices,’ Edward said.
The team’s success has received wide publicity in the media, with articles published in The Age and the Weekly Times, and reports going to air on the ABC and on Channel 10.
Edward has also been the co-recipient of Ormond College’s Katie Lush Award, presented each year to one male and one female final-year student resident in Ormond. The award recognises the students’ contribution to the student body and the college during their years of residence. Edward received his award at the Ormond student valedictory dinner on 17 October.
Edward is a third generation Scotch Collegian. His father, Tony (’54), and his grandfather Cec (’26) preceded him. Cec attended Scotch at East Melbourne and then at Hawthorn when the School moved. Tony and Cec also attended Ormond, along with other family members.
Edward’s great uncle Tom (’14) also attended Scotch, and his name appears on the tablets in the Memorial Hall as one of the fallen in World War I. Tom sent interesting and poignant letters from Gallipoli and the front in France, which were published in issues of the Collegian from 1915 until his death in the field in 1917. GS
Scotch College: ABN 86 852 826 445 ACN 005 650 395 CRICOS 00624A (Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students)