Hacks with Friends 2019 Submitted Pitches

Here is a complete list of the hack teams and the projects they collaborated on for the 2019 Hacks with Friends event. View the results of the work each team put forth by viewing their 3-minute pitch presentations from day 2 of the event.

1. Who's in the Office? Improving communication around exemption time between employees and managers

Team 1

Submitted by: Tiffany Marra, Center for the Education of Women


As the workplace shifts and becomes increasingly flexible, it becomes harder for individuals to collaborate and to feel connected. I dream of a streamlined way to handle exemption time requests that also leads to increased office awareness among all staff. Imagine an app that allows employees to complete a simple exemption time request form that automatically sends an email to their boss for approval. Once approved, the app emails the employee to notify them about the approval status and then adds the exception time to a shared calendar that is accessible by employees across the office. This would not only comply with HR policy, but would reduce time spent on approving exemption time and lead to increased awareness about the whereabouts of colleagues. Please help!

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, Documentation Specialists, Designers, Analysts, User Experience, Service Center Specialists, IT Security Specialist

2. Revealing "Hot" Spots

Team 2

Submitted by: Jeanette Balaze, ITS - Information Quest


Use Data Warehouse Space Data to determine which campus buildings are using the most energy by square footage. We would like to map this information on a campus map using Tableau for visualization to find energy 'Hot" spots. We can also show trends over time and possibly compare with weather data.

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, Documentation Specialists, Designers, Analysts, User Experience, Project Managers, Tableau Expert and map data (GIS?). Also anyone with knowledge of the Data Warehouse Space Data set.

3. Men in git is Cold FluId: "Meningitis Code Flu Id(entifier)"

Team 3

Submitted by: Wei Shi, HITS


Confusion about title? Let me re-arrange spaces... "Meningitis Code Flu Id(entifier)". These are illnesses everyone could catch and difficult to identify. The application attempts to use an ontology knowledge model to identify illnesses, provide treatment/prevention suggestions. Service APIs are used to access model, web interface for end users.

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, Designers, User Experience

4. Gaming and Learning Environment for Security (GALES)

Team 4

Submitted by: Brett Miller, Information Assurance: Michigan Medicine


This project will improve IT security environments by creating an application supporting modeling, and gamification with a Red (aggressor) and Blue (defender) Team approach.

This will be accomplished in three stages:
Stage 1 – Basic Modeling

  • Create an inventory of assets including systems, networks, and devices.
  • Create policies, standards, and procedures to protect these assets.
  • Create a model to see how well assets are protected against threats.
  • Run scenarios including vulnerabilities, misconfiguration, and compromised systems.

Stage 2 – Automated Attacker (“Red Team”)

  • Create an automated attacker that can select targets and scenarios.
  • The attacker is scored on how well they do.
  • The attacker dynamically adjusts their approach for better scores.
  • A human defender can interact with an ongoing attack.

Stage 3 – Automated Defender (“Blue Team”)

  • Create an automated defender that can vary defenses against attack.
  • Attacker and defender compete to learn to maximize scores.
  • Lessons learned create “playbooks” for defense.

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, Documentation Specialists, Designers, Analysts, User Experience, IT Security Specialist, Trainers, Project Managers, People with machine learning and game development experience

5. Make a Slack Bot to Pull Data From Splunk

Team 5

Submitted by: Dan Powell, ITS Infrastructure


ITS hosts over 2000 virtual servers in the MiServer service. Slack is the workgroup communications tool used by ITS teams to support this service. In order to improve ticket routing and customer service, this hack would create a bot in Slack to provide details about a given MiServer instance when the short name of a server is input. The information returned would include inventory, status, and performance data from Splunk.

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, Documentation Specialists, Analysts, Service Center Specialists, Trainers, Project Managers

6. Integrating Ansible with RHEL Builds

Team 6

Submitted by: Michael Shen, LSA Technology Services


We're transitioning away from Satellite and Ansible is one potential option, this just represents an initial foray of sorts into what kind of work would need to be done for a full-transition.

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, Desktop Support, Project Managers

7. Mediawiki in the Container Age

Team 7

Submitted by: Jonathan Billings, College of Engineering/CAEN


Mediawiki is a very popular wiki on the university campus, but ever since ITS has deprecated the service, people have been looking for an alternative. We will build an easy to use recipe for building a university-branded Mediawiki in the University of Michigan Openshift Container Platform. We will use university authentication and have good security practices for locking down the wiki as well as maintaining it for the long term.

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, Documentation Specialists, User Experience, IT Security Specialist, Project Managers

8. Managing Accessibility Compliance and Information

Team 8

Submitted by: Phillip Deaton, OIE/Provost/HR


Our goal is to build a way to track, manage, and report the Accessibility team’s work between ITS and OIE. This proposed project will build out infrastructure to work across various departments / silos while engaging stakeholders across all campuses. The Accessibility team will be releasing a new SPG and with that release has new needs to track and prioritize work / interactions across the team and across the Ann Arbor, Flint, Dearborn and Medical School Campuses. We propose building out Client Relationship Management (CRM) architecture in Salesforce to track:

  • Training
  • Evangelization
  • Documentation
  • Quick consultation
  • Extended consultation
  • Review
  • Procurement
  • Exceptions
  • Communication
  • Research
  • Track compliance
  • Process complaints
  • And additional relevant data

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, Designers, User Experience, IT Security Specialist, Trainers, Project Managers

9. "Universal Data Migrator" for Tableau

Team 9

Submitted by: Daniel Stanish, Facilities & Operations Information Systems (FOIS)


Tableau is a great tool for accessing, analyzing and displaying data. But despite Tableau having a multitude of native data connectors, there are many more data types possible. What I'm pitching is to create either a "universal connector" to enable connections to various web based sources and be able to maintain "live" connections, focusing on JSON and WebService providers, and possibly more.

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, Documentation Specialists, Analysts

Third Place - 10. Gitlab for Finding Security Bugs Early in the Coding Process

Team 10

Submitted by: Rick Getchell, ITS Information Assurance


Let's hack together some pipelines that employ GitLab's security testing capabilities. We have the tools (they come with GitLab) and we have the need (growing number of internally-developed apps). But we lack clear, proof-of-concept examples and guidance to make it easy for our developer colleagues. What we build will help developers across the university find security bugs in their code using GitLab’s automated deployment pipelines. While we're at it, we could go further and draft some text to suggest for the U-M GitLab page and Safe Computing.

Two things inspired this idea: excitement about how cool GitLab is, and concern that we (as an institution) are overlooking security weaknesses in the coding process. Web applications are of particular concern. A recent global survey revealed that 38% of external security breaches were carried out against web applications [https://bit.ly/2KFQsHD].

3-Minute Pitch

10-Minute Presentation to Judges

Judges Comments

Skills needed: Developers, Documentation Specialists, IT Security Specialist, Project Managers, Familiarity with GitLab and automated deployment pipelines

YouTube link: https://youtu.be/SU_Z2kqugiQ

11. Virtual Desktops in the Cloud

Team 11

Submitted by: Matthew Chess, ITS Infrastructure


Virtual desktops are instances with curated software, spun up at the time a user requests access, then terminated and completely rebuilt for the next user. The cloud is the perfect use case for ephemeral instances but users need convenient remote access. For all the managed products the public cloud offers, connection services to facilitate users logging into temporary instances are not available. To make this hack successful we will need to build a type of connection broker to authenticate a user, log them into a server and recycle the instance on logout. This will give users the opportunity to use a very powerful instance for statistics, genomics, or artificial intelligence workloads without hardware limitations and no wasted money on idle instances. Automating remote access and instance termination are key elements in moving virtual desktops to the cloud.

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, User Experience, Project Managers

12. Searchable Document Repository

Team 12

Submitted by: Kranthi Bandaru, Information Quest


Every department has its technical or business documentation at several places using different technologies. It is often annoying and frustrating to find the right document or find out that its overwritten by mistake. We have to start over again to create the right version of that document.We have a similar challenge and I want to explore the option of having one single document repository and try to use tips and tricks available to make it a searchable and user friendly. Calling all the G drive experts, users with extensions or plugin knowledge, excel/word formula gurus. All ideas are welcome.

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Documentation Specialists, Analysts, Service Center Specialists, Project Managers

13. Gitlab on Kubernetes

Team 13

Submitted by: Kenneth Moore, ITS/VCI


As IT staff continue to utilize and depend on DevOps tools such as Gitlab, availability of these tools becomes increasingly important.

We intend to install both the application and the runners used in CI/CD pipelines on top of Kubernetes. This new installation should allow us to benefit from a distributed microservice architecture - application/service portability, increased resiliency, as well as independent service scalability. Utilizing this type of architecture will make this increasingly critical system more available and reliable.

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, Documentation Specialists, Designers, IT Security Specialist, Project Managers

2nd Place - 14. U-M Studyspace

Team 14

Submitted by: Jeran Norman, CoE/IT - CAEN


Finding a location to study in as a U-M student group is often a time-consuming challenge. Students will search through hallways and buildings for an available room, with no guarantee that one will even be found. “StudySpace”, a new U-M mobile application, solves this by using room schedules and the user’s location to find the nearest available room instantly. Room reservations can also be made in advance through the app, stored separately from the official room calendar.

“StudySpace” also provides a queuing tool for Office Hours, eliminating a complicated responsibility for instructors (especially for large classes) to track and help students efficiently. Students requiring assistance can sign themselves up for the queue and see their current position within the app.


  • Real-time room suggestions
  • Searchable by available times and/or location
  • In-app unofficial room reservation system (“dibs”)
  • “Office hours” queue and notification system
  • U-M weblogin authentication (if time permits)
  • Required once per device, using Google OAuth

3-Minute Pitch

10-Minute Presentation to Judges

Judges Comments

Skills needed: Developers, User Experience

1st Place - 15. ContaMiNot: A Sustainability App to Help You Find a Home for Your Trash

Team 15

Submitted by: A. Bilge Ozel, Jule Krüger, Jocelyn Marchyok, Medical School, Institute for Social Research, Zero Waste Office


Have you ever stood in front of a recycling bin wondering whether you could throw in your to-go coffee cup? Or, the wrapper of the breakfast bar you just ate? Let’s face it, it isn’t easy to remember where they go. The U-M Office of Sustainability seeks to reduce the waste that goes to landfill by 40% in 2025. With a new mobile app, Final Destination, we aim to make it easier for the community to contribute to these efforts. Users will be able to look up where a specific item belongs (compost, recycling, landfill). Potentially, the app could provide users with an ability to log disposed items, and practice environmentally-conscious choices by competing with others. Quizzes and interesting facts about personal climate impact are other options. We believe that Final Destination will make an important contribution to waste reduction efforts at U-M by developing a more environmentally informed community.

3-Minute Pitch

10-Minute Presentation to Judges

Judges Comments

Skills needed: Developers, Documentation Specialists, Designers, Analysts, User Experience, Project Managers

YouTube link: https://youtu.be/9Lf8aJT1Acc

16. MiTrek - Solving Wayfinding Challenges with Technology to Enhance the Patient, Family, Visitor, and Staff Experience

Team 16

Submitted by: Nadine Korc, HITS


In any complex physical environment an effective wayfinding system is key to patient, family, and visitor satisfaction. The Michigan Medicine main campus comprises 2 hospitals and 3 centers, along with an array of parking garages, resulting in millions of square feet of physical space. This complexity creates significant navigation challenges for the >70% patient population that comes to Michigan Medicine for care, in addition to families, visitors, new employees, and even our own employees.

This project is intended to bring a GPS-like application or system into our great indoors allowing for ease of navigation and helping people get to where they need to go. Ideally the solution would account for guidance to and from the location of their car in the parking structure as well. Overall, a customer-friendly solution would help reduce the anxiety and stress associated with wayfinding challenges and contribute to the overall goal of delivering an outstanding patient and family experience.

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, Documentation Specialists, Designers, Analysts, User Experience, Desktop Support, Project Managers, Tester, Actual End User

17. Explore Informatica PowerCenter

Team 17

Submitted by: Kranthi Bandaru, Information Quest, ITS


We use Informatica Power Center for our ETL development. I recently came across some documentation which mentions that we can connect to SOAP based web services using the HTTP transformation module within Power center at no additional cost. Wanted to explore that option if there are interested ETL developers to invest time and effort in this. This will enable us to integrate with cloud vendors without spending amount on additional licensing.

No videos. Pitch was abandoned.

Skills needed: Developers

18. UM/Michigan Medicine Brand 3D Object Library

Team 18

Submitted by: Husnu Kaplan, Michigan Medicine - HITS


3D printing is very popular and becoming more and more affordable for general consumers. A normal computer user can download an 3D image of an object and print it without necessarily knowing much about CAD, nowadays. Currently, UM and Michigan Medicine Brand Logo Libraries contain only 2d images that can be used for different needs. Having a 3D Object Library that contains downloadable UM and Michigan Medicine 3D Logos as well as other branded 3D objects would be helpful for faculty, students, patients, UM fans to 3D print and use. This could also be an extension to existing UM and Michigan Medicine Image Libraries. We would like to develop UM and Michigan Medicine specific 3D objects by using easy to use 3D CAD software (like Tinkercad - https://www.tinkercad.com/) and hopefully build a mini 3D Object Library with UM Logos, memorabilia for public use.

3-Minute Pitch

Skills needed: Developers, Designers

4th Place - 19. Ask MiBot! Data at your fingertips.

Team 19

Submitted by: Will Burns, Amber Madden and Zhen Qian, ITS


MiBot is the next generation of personal assistant for students at U-M. MiBot will provide instant answers with the ability to ask questions through a Google-like search box, or out loud to device like Echo or Google Home. Using a student persona, MiBot will answer common questions, leveraging Google Cloud Services for Natural Language Processing and UM API directory services to aggregate information from U-M servers (web pages, Canvas and other systems) and provide a personal chatbot or Voice Assistant for information retrieval. MiBot is a step toward the future of technology, offering a personalized experience for every student to assist with planning and navigating their day.

3-Minute Pitch

10-Minute Presentation to Judges

Judges Comments

Skills needed: Developers, Designers, Analysts, User Experience, IT Security Specialist, Project Managers, Data Management Analysts