What's love got to do with a hackathon?

The team of Ms Jasmine Tan (right), Mr Kevin Go and Ms Amilyn Quah won the top prize of $3,000 with TableAround, a mobile app with an algorithm that groups individuals with similar profiles together. They can then choose to socialise over meals based
The team of Ms Jasmine Tan (above), Mr Kevin Go and Ms Amilyn Quah won the top prize of $3,000 with TableAround, a mobile app with an algorithm that groups individuals with similar profiles together. They can then choose to socialise over meals based on the table topics they are interested in, such as politics or travel.
The team of Ms Jasmine Tan (right), Mr Kevin Go and Ms Amilyn Quah won the top prize of $3,000 with TableAround, a mobile app with an algorithm that groups individuals with similar profiles together. They can then choose to socialise over meals based
The team of Ms Jasmine Tan, Mr Kevin Go (above) and Ms Amilyn Quah won the top prize of $3,000 with TableAround, a mobile app with an algorithm that groups individuals with similar profiles together. They can then choose to socialise over meals based on the table topics they are interested in, such as politics or travel.
The team of Ms Jasmine Tan, Mr Kevin Go and Ms Amilyn Quah won the top prize of $3,000 with TableAround, a mobile app with an algorithm that groups individuals with similar profiles together. They can then choose to socialise over meals based
The team of Ms Jasmine Tan, Mr Kevin Go and Ms Amilyn Quah (above) won the top prize of $3,000 with TableAround, a mobile app with an algorithm that groups individuals with similar profiles together. They can then choose to socialise over meals based on the table topics they are interested in, such as politics or travel.

Event to gather new ideas for getting singles to socialise is a first here

Could Cupid secretly be a computer engineer in disguise?

In a first for Singapore, the Government organised a dating hackathon to crowdsource innovative ideas to encourage the growing pool of singles here to socialise - and potentially boost marriage and fertility rates.

At the finale yesterday, 36 people from 10 teams pitched their technology-based dating solutions for a chance to win cash prizes worth $6,000 in total.

The three winning teams also have a chance to receive seed funding of up to $50,000 by partnering a matchmaking agency accredited by the Social Development Network (SDN) and further develop their ideas.

The hackathon took place over three days from Dec 4.

The top prize of $3,000 went to a team that came up with TableAround, a mobile application with an algorithm that groups individuals with similar profiles together. They can then choose to socialise over meals based on the table topics they are interested in, such as politics or travel.

The team comprised entrepreneur Jasmine Tan, 24; systems developer Kevin Go, 25; and Ms Amilyn Quah, 27, who works in finance.

Coming in second was Tunnel of Love, an app created by two National University of Singapore (NUS) students, who won $2,000. The app caters to introverts who are less likely to initiate conversation over text messages.

The third prize of $1,000 went to Mr Ang Wei Loong and his girlfriend Ng Yu Ying, both 22.

They had started out as friends, but love blossomed over their long phone calls when Mr Ang was doing his national service. This then led to the idea of creating a mobile app that allows users to talk on the phone anonymously before deciding whether or not to reveal their profile pictures and contact data.

"What we really want to focus on is creating an emotional connection for users that is not based on superficial impression alone," said Ms Ng, a fourth-year life sciences student at NUS.

Mr Prakash Somosundram, 38, an SDN council member and one of the judges, said: "The traditional model of speed dating might have seen limited success, but some of the ideas that came out today build a social layer that might make these solutions more attractive."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2015, with the headline 'What's love got to do with a hackathon?'. Print Edition | Subscribe