Welcome to HayStats!


Whether it's for a research paper, market report, or even for curiosity, extracting good stats from a source is critical. However, for the most extensive articles, scouring through hundreds of pages of text for facts can often feel like finding a needle in a haystack. As engineering students, we are often asked to write various reports. Some specifically asking for quantitative facts. We often don't have all the time in the world to complete our research papers (or we're doing it last minute...) and reading long articles is the bane of our existences. So, we decided to fix that!

What it does

HayStats is a chrome extension that extracts statistics from a webpage as well as other relevant insights including mentioned companies or people, categories, and keywords. This information is then exported so that users can view and copy the information at their leisure.

How we built it

Based on the open page of the user, HayStats leverages IBM Watson to check each sentence if it contains numbers or words that correspond to quantities, financial statements, and other statistics. If the sentence contains a statistic, it is appended to a list of statistics for that page, along with more page insights. This list can be accessed by the user through the notepad interface. The majority of the programming was done through Javascript, NodeJS, CSS, and HTML.

Challenges we ran into

Implementing the IBM Watson in a Chrome extension was brutally difficult as accessing URL information from the tab would trigger security warnings and required several hours of help from multiple mentors to fix. Another issue we ran into was actually formatting of the list and pushing it to render. We got it to work in the end but we had to try quite a few things out along the way. Huge shoutout to our mentors David, Luciana, and Herman for helping us with this!

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of our finished project and how far we've come! We learned so much (see below) and would love to continue to expand and add to our skills as a team and expand on our programming skills. For 3/4 members of the team, this was their first hackathon (the 1 remaining member only having done their first the week previous)! We didn't have a clear idea of what we had gotten ourselves into. But now, we'll all certainly be coming back!

What we learned

The majority of our team had no experience with Javascript, Chrome extensions, or API's before beginning this project. Even things some of us were familiar with, we weren't proficient in. We might have known basics but implementing them in such a short amount of time is something we worked hard at doing. Despite this we were able to learn and leverage these tools to effectively create and complete the project. In addition to the technical skills, we learned to work as a team, set aside time for both work and rest, and grew together as well. We got frustrated, we got upset, but as also cheered and laughed and smiled and it's those ups and downs that brought us closer as a team.

What's next for HayStats

  • Allowing the user to save the stats found to a Google Doc and/or a PDF file for ease of use.
  • Integrating a citation API to add the page citation in various citation styles to the end of the document (catering to our student users)
  • Allowing the user to select the types of keywords/filters/different quantities that they'd like to search for.
  • Further IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding implementation for more insights
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posted an update

Thank you @IBM for the "Best up and comers" honourable mention! As first-time/second-time hackathon attendees, this means a lot to us. Also a big shoutout to mentors David, Herman, and Luciana for helping us in late-night debugging sessions!

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