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Young USC developers win app challenge

Monday, May 5, 2014
Bit Depth
The winning USC team in the university’s computer lab; from left, Kyrone Smith, Christopher Adolph, Akel Nickles and Chika Ibneme. PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY

The four young men huddle in the small room nervously. It’s startling how young they all seem in the tiny meeting room on the campus of the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC). 


They form an awkward row in front of me, grouping shoulder to shoulder to face questions from the press.


It’s at that point that I realise they aren’t lifelong buddies, but it’s hard to imagine, even in the face of all that self-conscious shuffling, that they hadn’t worked together as a team until a couple of weeks before Microsoft’s Tech Day & App Development Challenge barely a month before.


Kyrone Smith and Chika Ibneme attended the briefing that Microsoft held on the campus for potential participants and Smith began thinking right afterward of a good team for the event.


Ibneme was an almost immediate first choice. The two had done Introduction to Programming and then the CompSci 1 and 2 classes together.


They both agreed on Akel Nickles, an older student who had known them both from his two years as a computer studies teaching assistant.


Christopher Adolph found out while browsing his Facebook stream and saw a request from Smith for anyone at the school who was interested. He responded immediately.


Adolph and Nickles came in cold to Project Siena (, the new technology that Microsoft was introducing. 


Siena is a Windows 8 application that allows both programmers and non-programmers to create apps that harness the power of corporate data and content, as well as Web services.


For the App Development Challenge, teams from four competing universities (UTT, UWI, SBCS were the others) were challenged to build an app in Windows in two hours and then do the same in Android.



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