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Hampton University students win first place in 2018 Google Hackathon

WASHINGTON – A group of students from Hampton University’s Department of Computer Science won first place in the Google DC Hack Competition on February 10 and 11, the university announced Wednesday.

HU sophomores Marcus Sellars, Tauren Bass, Taya Simmons, Coleman Scott IV and Xavier Horton won first place for their app “OpenSeats,” which is designed to fill all open seats at a dinner table. The app allows users to signal when they plan on going to dinner as an open invitation to people in the area.

“OpenSeats is a social platform designed to bring people together through a universal common interest: food,” said Sellars. “Through a clean and simple interface, users can schedule (or join ongoing) meals, at any restaurant at any time and watch as friendly and unique people join them. OpenSeats is designed for those who wish to network, explore, and meet incredible new people. Whether you simply want a new face to join you for a drink, or you’re in a new city and want to find the perfect group of friends, OpenSeats can help you accomplish both. And what better way to do that than over a great meal?”

Dr. Jean Muhammad, Department Chair, congratulated the team and said that 25 students from the university participated in the competition. According to Muhammad, each team had to create their own application without any prior information. The winning team featured four current Google interns from HU’s computer science department.

The Google DC Hack Competition is a 24-hour event that pitted HU students against students from rival HBCUs: Howard University and Morgan State University.