UWF Team Places First in International Information Systems Competition

When Nam Nguyen and his teammates from UWF’s student chapter of the Association for Information Management Systems were deciding on an issue to tackle for the IBM BlueMix Bright ICT Competition in late 2015, they chose something that hit close to home: cyberbullying.

UWF student Nam Nguyen poses for photo in front of the college of business building.
Nam Nguyen will continue to develop the software that he and his team used to win the competition at Indiana University.

“I’ve had nieces and nephews that were bullied on social media,” said Nguyen, who recently graduated with a Master of Business Administration with a focus on social media. “Even some of my team members and myself had faced the problem.”

IBM BlueMix Bright ICT Competition is a national event that challenges students in the information technology field to IBM’s Bluemix platform in innovative ways to to prevent undesirable and dangerous activities on the internet.

Nguyen, with team members Neil Light and Peter Cavallaro, created their project, “Bully Be Gone: Preventing Cyber Bullying on Facebook,” to stop harassment on Facebook before it gets out of hand.

“People who are bullied online tend to keep the bullying to themselves and sweep it under the rug,” Nguyen said. “We wanted to use the Bluemix platform to create a pro-active way to stop things from going wrong.”

IBM Bluemix is a software platform designed to build, run, deploy and manage applications in the cloud.

The team built an application that works with Facebook to screen words on a user’s profile to detect if there are negative or positive sentiments being expressed. If the app finds something negative, it sends an email to a parent or someone else who can take action.

“We created a test user for the competition, and the application worked,” Nguyen said. “We had a successful proof of concept.”

The team placed first at the competition, which took place at Indiana University. Nguyen and his teammates faced competition from around the world, including teams from institutions such as Brigham Young University and the University of Gdansk (Poland).

“This was the first time a team from UWF and the management information systems department had competed, and we made a great impression,” Nguyen said. “I am very proud of the work we did.”

The team won $2,000 for their chapter. Nguyen said he hopes the project will continue.

“I want to continue to develop the software on an open-source platform so that others can use it,” Nguyen said. “It is something that could be used to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Field Work is a monthly series that highlights research and other scholarly activities being conducted by UWF undergraduate students.