University of Calgary

Two University of Calgary teams vie to represent Canada in app competition

UToday HomeApril 11, 2013

The YouSave team, Alan Chen, Xiufeng Peter, Omar Zaarour and Mahmoud Alhajaji.The YouSave team, from left: Alan Chen, Xiufeng Peter, Omar Zaarour, and Mahmoud El hajjaji. The team is one of two teams of graduate students from the University of Calgary competing to represent Canada in the Imagine Cup this weekend. Photo by Fatemeh KeshavarzUpdate: Team SANO has won the Canadian finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup and will be representing Canada at the world finals in Russia in July.

Two teams of graduate students, many of whom are in Reda Alhajj’s research group in the Department of Computer Science, will compete against each other as well as against a third team from Carleton University to represent Canada at the Imagine Cup in Russia.

The cup is an international event sponsored by Microsoft that has students from around the world showcase their one-of-a-kind app ideas developed using Microsoft resources. The two student teams were supported by Alberta Innovates and mentored by professors Alhajj and Jon Rokne.

Mahmoud El hajjaji, who is a masters of architecture student in EVDS, along with his teammates in computer science, Omar Zaarour, Xiufeng Peng and Alan Chen, developed YouSave, an app that helps shoppers find the products they are looking for while also saving time, money, fuel or any combination of the three.

“They just choose their product and their criteria, what they want to save, and the application gives them the more convenient stores to go to,” says Zaarour. YouSave was awarded the Canadian Imagine Cup Innovation award.

Zaarour is also on the second team, along with Omar Addam, Tamer Jarada and Fatemeh Keshavarz. This team developed SANO, the first interactive system that monitors your health while you sit for hours in front of your computer or mobile device.

“When SANO decides that the user needs to practice, it keeps notifying the user that it is exercise time!” says Zaarour. ”A 3D virtual trainer appears on the screen and asks the user to mimic the movements.” SANO has won the Canadian Imagine Cup World Citizenship award.

The SANO team, from left: computer science grad students Tamer Jarada, Omar Zaarour, Omar Addam and Fatemeh Keshavarz.The SANO team, from left: computer science grad students Tamer Jarada, Omar Zaarour, Omar Addam and Fatemeh Keshavarz. The team developed an app that tells people stuck for hours in front of a screen when to exercise. Photo by Riad AljomaiThe teams will show their stuff to a panel of Imagine Cup judges online Saturday, April 13. Each team gets 20 minutes to present their apps followed by a 10 minute Q&A session. The winning team will represent Canada at Imagine Cup finals in St. Petersburg, Russia, in July 2013.

Zaarour, who competed in the Imagine Cup last year from his home country of Palestine, wishes both of his teams could win. “I feel very bad because I am on two teams that must compete against each other.”

For more information about the teams and the Imagine Cup visit:


Follow UToday on Twitter.
Check the UToday website for news about events, people and trends at University of Calgary.
Follow what’s happening on campus using our interactive calendar.