Announcing the 2021 Grainger Computing Innovation Prize Winners

The winners of the first-ever Grainger Computing Innovation Prize were announced at a reception and awards ceremony held last night, with the winning team awarded $15,000 for their project.

The Grainger Computing Innovation Prize calls on Illinois Tech students to discover creative technology solutions to some of the most pressing global challenges facing the world today: health disparities, climate change, and the need for sustainable smart infrastructure. The competition is funded by a generous endowment from the Grainger Foundation. 

There was a highly competitive field with a truly exciting range of projects in the finals in this inaugural year, ranging from smart devices to help make recycling easier and more accurate, technology addressing mental health access disparities for sexual violence survivors, modularized workplace safety implementation, a smart waste compressor that aims to improve the quality of life of citizens in developing countries, to a new, more energy efficient and sustainable digital currency.

To learn more about the competition and winning projects, visit: 

Grainger Computing Innovation Prize Winners


GiGi (Green lightnInG coIn)

1st Place – $15,000 prize

One of the most disrupting technologies of the 21st century are digital currencies (e.g. Bitcoin) — however, these decentralized currencies are orders of magnitude slower in latency, throughput while being many times less energy efficient when compared to existing centralized approaches (e.g. VISA). This new digital currency GIGI, Green lightnInG coIn increases transaction throughput through larger blocks with smaller block times and achieves energy efficiency on par with centralized solutions using an improved Proof-of-Space algorithm leveraging XSearch to secure the digital currency.  

Team members:

  • Gabriel Bryk
  • Mahad Haider
  • Neil John
  • Jacklyn McAninch
  • Ryan McPhail

Waste Allocation Load Compressor (WALC)

2nd Place Team – $10,000 prize

The Waste Allocation Load Compressor (WALC) is an inexpensive smart waste compressor that aims to improve the quality of life of citizens in developing countries by decreasing pollution on streets and waterways. WALC utilizes IoT technology to provide city officials with statistics, predictions, and optimal waste collection routes for when units are full.

Team members: 

  • Ali Zain Ali
  • Stephanie Bae
  • Jorge Bravo
  • Saurabh Saluja

Receptify (Technology Addressing Mental Health Access Disparities for Sexual Violence Survivors)

3rd Place – $5,000 prize

Receptify is a tool for reducing barriers to recovery and rehabilitation for sexual violence survivors on college campuses, demystifying their steps and options as they seek justice and healing.

  • Sean Cummings
  • Ryan Manthy
  • Stanley Nicholson

Py (Smart Devices Help Make Recycling Easier and More Accurate)

4th Place Tie – Finalist 

Recycling is a crucial task as it actively benefits our environment as it allows us to transform old items into new things that can continue to be useful in our everyday lives. Despite the importance of recycling within our communities, it can also be difficult to understand how to recycle accurately, therefore this smart waste device, which properly distributes each item presented to it into the correct bin, makes recycling easier, efficient, and more accurate.

Team members:

  • Anthony Franco
  • Talhah Waheed

Y Not We ? (Workplace Safety Implementation)

4th Place Tie – Finalist 

Implementation of workplace safety has been a big hassle since the dawn of the Industrial Age. The implementation of workplace safety and ethics has been an important challenge faced by many leading industries nowadays. Although existing approaches have a separate implementation of safety protocols and checking systems, they don’t have a modularized united frontal approach. This project addresses the challenge of modularization and global workplace safety implementation. 

Team members:

  • Sudharshana Ganeshkumar
  • Aravinthan Ramanathan 
  • Elamathi Senthilkumar
  • Sri Hari Sivashanmugam 
  • Aswath Ram Adayapalam Srinivasan