News Release

San Diego Union-Tribune Seeks UCSD-developed 'Killer Apps'

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Calit2's Saura Naderi helped organize the contest and will conduct a mid-week review along with Calit2's Luke Barrington.

San Diego, Calif., Oct. 6  -- The San Diego Union-Tribune will award $4,500 in prizes to undergraduates at the University of California, San Diego, as part of a week-long contest to develop the next “killer app” for mobile devices.

The “Union-Tribune Killer App Contest,” which is supported in part by the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), kicks off with an informational meeting from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7 in Room 4004 of Calit2’s Atkinson Hall. Teams of up to three undergraduates will have one week — until midnight Saturday, Oct. 15 — to develop an idea for an application for the iPad, iPhone, Android or other mobile platform. An awards ceremony will be held Sunday, Oct. 16.

“The contestants don’t have to actually do any programming, they just have to come up with idea and present it in a 3 to 5 minute powerpoint,” says Saura Naderi, director of Calit2’s MyLab and a contest organizer. “But it might make sense to have a programmer on the team to determine if the idea is technically feasible. Teams will also need to make a convincing argument for how their idea would be marketable.”

First prize for the contest is $2,500; second and third prizes are $1,500 and $500 respectively. Naderi says the leadership at the Union-Tribune is purposely keeping the contest open-ended and isn’t seeking a specific type of app, but encourages contestants to find a way to engage San Diegans while making use of the newspaper’s resources to develop their ideas.

“It could be anything from an app that bases concert recommendations on where the user is and what type of music he or she likes to an app that connects the public with reporters in an engaging way,” says Naderi. “They’re looking for an app that will do anything innovative.”

For extra guidance, contestants can attend an optional mid-week review led by Naderi and her Calit2 colleague Luke Barrington (who developed the core functionality for a online crowd-sourcing project as part of Calit2 researcher Albert Yu-Min Lin’s quest to find archaeological artifacts in Mongolia).

Although all rights will be retained by the Union-Tribune, Naderi says that if Editor-in-Chief Jeff Light and his colleagues at the U-T like the winning ideas well enough, they might use their own resources to have the apps developed — or even hire the winning students to develop the app over the course of an academic year, perhaps using Calit2’s resources.

Further details will be provided at the information session. Contact Saura Naderi at with questions.

Media Contacts

Ioana Patringenaru
Jacobs School of Engineering

Tiffany Fox
Qualcomm Institute