Rensselaer Students Win Big in Global Blockchain Competition

May 26, 2023


Students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recently competed in the Algorand Centers of Excellence MEGA-Ace Hackathon. The MEGA-Ace Hackathon “is designed to bring together developers, engineers, and entrepreneurs from around the world to showcase their skills and explore the limitless possibilities of the Algorand blockchain.” The MEGA-Ace Hackathon featured two tracks: Open Innovation and Technical Challenges.

Teams from Rensselaer won big in the global competition! In the Open Innovation Challenge with over 400 participants worldwide, PredictChain, led by graduate student Matthew Pisano ’24, won first place with a $3,000 prize. In the same category, NFT Call Options, led by Tripp Lyons ’26, won third place and a $1,000 prize. In Technical Challenges, Saymuth Sagi ’24 won third place in the beginner competition and a $150 prize.

The local hub winners from Rensselaer in Open Innovation were:

First place ($1,500 prize money):  NFT Call Options led by Tripp Lyons ’26

Second place ($750 prize money):  Crowdsourcing on Algorand led by doctoral student Inwon Kang ’21 ‘22

Third place ($375 prize money): PredictChain led by Matthew Pisano ‘24, Connor Patterson ’23, and William Hawkins ’22 ‘23

Most Impactful Solution ($400 prize money): EMSights led by Samyuth Sagi ’24 and Manan Shukla ’23

Most Creative Solution ($400 prize money): Battlebots led by Omar Cobas ’23, Michael Lenyszyn ’23 ‘24, Ryan Kerr ’24, and Alex Montes ’24

Most Innovative Use of Technology ($400 prize money): PredictChain led by graduate student Matthew Pisano ’24, Connor Patterson ’23, and William Hawkins ’22, ’23

The local Technical Challenge's first-place winner in the beginner category was Tripp Lyons ’26, with a $150 prize.

Oshani Seneviratne, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science, and Lirong Xia, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science, were awarded a grant from the Algorand Foundation last year. In addition to funding their research to advance blockchain technology, the grant funds special events such as hackathons and on-campus guest presentations related to artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies by subject matter experts from industry, academia, and Algorand.

“Rensselaer offers many opportunities for students to learn, compete, and define the future of these cutting-edge technologies. I encourage our students to participate in future events, learn about Algorand and blockchain technologies, and make our mark globally. I am very proud of all our MEGA-Ace competitors!” said Seneviratne.

“The MEGA-Ace Hackathon was a wonderful opportunity for our students to showcase and practice their skills,” said Xia. “I am very impressed by how well they did in this competition.”

“Rensselaer is at the forefront in research and pedagogy in both foundational computing and emerging technologies like Blockchain,” said Mohammed Zaki, Ph.D., professor and head of the Department of Computer Science. “It is wonderful to celebrate the success of our students in the MEGA-Ace Hackathon, and kudos to both Professors Oshani Seneviratne and Lirong Xia on attracting this event to Rensselaer.”

Written By Katie Malatino
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