The Great Mind Challenge 2012 – An Exciting Journey

When I saw an update today on the pages that I had been monitoring for the last few weeks, and realized that it had been an entire year since we conceived the idea of our project, an indescribable feeling ran through me. It was roughly around 15th September last year when four students from our college had come together and decided to participate in IBM TGMC 2012 and test our skills against teams from all over the nation. At that time, it was merely a concept, slowly taking its shape before any actual work could begin. And today, it has been a year, and only a week since the final round results of the contest were announced, and to our extreme delight, we were declared to be amongst the winners! Let me start from the beginning…

It was September, 2011. I was in my second year. We had little information about The Great Mind Challenge when our seniors Souranil Sen, Avinash Verma and others had introduced us to this competition, where participants were required to conceptualize, draft and build an entire industry-standard live project. At first, the steep learning curve required was indeed a bit intimidating, but the immense scope of learning about new technologies which are of daily use in the industry was just something I couldn’t resist. So was the case with many of my classmates. We decided to give it a try and registered for the competition. Unfortunately, most of us were unable to submit a fully working project by the end of the submission period. Nonetheless, the experience was a learning one. And we did not lose hope!

September, 2012. A year had passed, and getting more acquainted with industry requirements, my friends Neelakshi Das, Krishanu Ganguli and Krishna Kamal Pal and I had undergone a training on J2EE. When TGMC 2012 was announced, the four of us enrolled under the team name Apocalypse. We wanted to shed off the dust from experiences of last year, and rise from the ashes, and we wanted our team name to be symbolic of that effort. We chose to do our project on “Public Works Department – Tender Management System”.

Tender Management in India is yet to go online completely, and one must admit there is ample scope in the current system for corruption to creep in. We wanted our project to aim at minimizing this very scope. And so, we analyzed every feature we wanted to put in, and tried our best to ensure that they would not compromise on the security of the database or the privacy of the users, while also maintaining transparency throughout the bid selection procedure. We designed separate portals for different categories of users – Registered Companies, PWD Officers, Senior Officer, Administrator, and Guest Users. Registration of companies are to be completed only after the registration documents had been successfully verified by authorities such as the Police Department, Income Tax Department, Bank, etc. Companies can view upcoming tenders grouped in various relevant categories, and submit bids. After approval by PWD Officers, selected companies can share their work status on the portal for review by Government authorities and for maintaining future records. The PWD Officers are also responsible for managing tender documents and floating new tenders on behalf of the Government. The Senior Officer authorises and supervises PWD Officers and companies. The Administrator creates accounts for Senior Officer and PWD Officers, and generates reports, in addition to the usual responsibilities.

We used a lot of technologies in the project, learning and relearning in the process. All the while we had active support and guidance from our mentor Subhamita Mukherjee ma’am. We also received loads of inputs from Sanjeev Dev sir who showed us how to approach the project from many different angles. Without their guidance, I am not sure if I would have been writing this blog post today!

Team Apocalypse
Team Apocalypse

Anyway, after anticipation of the first round results for a few months, we were very much excited to see our team names among the teams selected for the Face-to-Face rounds. There was also a certain level of anxiety as to how the presentation would turn out to be. Our venue was in a little remote location. I personally had to depart by 4 am to reach before the reporting time. Bakrahat – the location was a beauty in itself! Isolated from the noises and clusters of daily city life, our venue Dream Institute of Technology was located in a suburban location surrounded by open fields, trees and bushes, and yes, quite a number of domesticated animals like cows!

The actual presentation went smoothly, in spite of some minor setbacks like an issue with the projector and the internet connection. Luckily, we had 3G connection on mobile which served as an alternate. Our audience consisted of representatives from IBM and reputed names from the industry. Neelakshi explained to them the overview about the very idea of our project and what problems we intended to solve. Krishanu gave a live demonstration while Krishna Kamal Pal (known among our circle as Mr. K.K.Pal) went into describing the features. I explained the security aspects of our project, and how the passwords were being encrypted by our encryption algorithm for added security in case the database gets hacked. We were asked quite a many questions and we tried to answer them to our best, and they gave us feedback on how we could improve on our future projects. It was only at the end of our presentation that we realized that we had been in the hall for more than an hour, longer than any other group from West Bengal! We had a very satisfying lunch at Tandoori House that afternoon.

Last week, on Monday, we came to know that the Final Round results had been declared. And, I can’t express the feelings that I had when I found our team name on top of the list of IBM TGMC 2012 winners! It was way more than what we call ecstatic. We were informed that felicitation programme for the winners will be held soon and we will be informed of the same. As of now, the results are live at!/wiki/W1302f61f2e98_46e8_8f4b_649337b014b6/page/TGMC%20’12%20Final%20Round%20Results

and we are in anticipation of that invitation where we hope to meet other teams across the nation, and the people who were behind this competition.

The experience so far has been a memorable one — something I will cherish for a lifetime. But more importantly, it instilled the confidence in us never to lose hope and keep on trying. “Failure is the pillar of success” no longer seems to be merely a proverb. It is a lesson that every one of us should learn. We learned it, we are living it, and that is what I would like to say to all my juniors and friends:

Never lose hope. Keep on trying!

The Lunch at Tandoori House

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8 Replies to “The Great Mind Challenge 2012 – An Exciting Journey”

  1. A great going ppl . . . . . I know how much you guys have worked … and how many times you’ve been pissed off at my ‘ google it ‘ hehe 😛 :P. This will take you a long way untill and unless you forget this achievement asap and get into another bigger thing . . . u guys can do it 🙂 Alll the best 🙂

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