Paizza is a search engine for the Piazza course Q&A platform (note the swapped vowel positions). Piazza’s built-in search functinality only performs exact keyword matches, so a query like “dog” might turn up several results while “canines” or even “dogs” turns up 0. We took our idea to HackDuke in 2016 and won the grand prize in the education category.

An article about Paizza was published in Duke’s university newspaper, containing quotes from me and my other team members! It was a really cool experience!

The app frontend is written in Ruby on Rails, which serves the content pages to the user. The backend also talks to a PythonHTTPServer instance running on the same machine, which uses Python’s sklearn and nltk libraries to remove stopwords and match the user’s keywords to relevant results. The frontend was designed to be clean and intuitive, in contrast to Piazza’s cluttered two-pane view.

The name is a pun on “Piazza” and “Artificial Intelligence” (AI).

App screenshot from CS1331 Intro to Object Oriented Programming: Paizza query for "java exception"