Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi witnessed today the launch of the first stage of the UAE Hackathon, organized by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) across the emirates, with the participation of more than 1000 contestants. The opening ceremony was attended by Dr. Aref Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President of Khalifa University, Mr. Salem Al Housani, Acting Deputy Director General for Information and eGovernment Sector representing TRA, and Mr. Mansoor Al Marzooqi, strategy manager at the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre.
The agenda of the first day included a series of training workshops on data and how to deal with them in order to reach innovative practical solutions to the challenges related to the Hackathon topics, which are education, health and safety, transportation and traffic congestion, sustainable development (post-oil era), environment and climate change, gender balance, enhancing social relations in the UAE, and enhancing the lifestyle. After the first opening session, a series of interactive workshops were held, presented by local and international experts on the same subject. A number of contestants participated in the presentation of their ideas and perceptions about open data and how to use them to reach solutions, services, and related programs to the posed challenges.
Al Housani welcomed the participating entities saying: ‘Our work together on the hackathon is a reflection of the tripartite partnership between the government, the private sector, and the community to achieve the desired happiness and sustainable development, in accordance with the wise leadership directives on future shaping. I would like to thank the students, and praise their dedication to this challenge that represents an opportunity to deal with the tools and vocabulary of the era and to provide innovative solutions through the analysis of available government data.’
In turn, Dr. Al Hammadi said: ‘We have motivated the students to participate in this event as we, in Khalifa University, believe in the importance of open data and its role in shaping the future vision of many vital sectors on the country’s level. UAE Hackathon is an opportunity for students to learn and share experience and knowledge in one of the most important areas of our time.”
Moreover, Mansoor Al Marzooqi said: “The UAE is committed to the leading approach since its establishment by the founding fathers 46 years ago. The strategic alignment between global developments on the one hand, and local needs based on UAE privacy, on the other, had to be compatible. In this context, the UAE government has launched a series of unprecedented initiatives in the region, such as the UAE strategy for Artificial Intelligence, establishing an Emirati council for Artificial Intelligence, in addition to adding a State Minister of Artificial Intelligence.”
Abu Dhabi Hackathon will last for three days, from 4 to 6 February 2018, and it is the first stage of the UAE Hackathon, the biggest event of its kind in the field of data analysis, and consisted for six Hackathons across the seven emirates. The second week will take place in Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah from 11 to 13 February at Ajman University – Fujairah branch, and the American University of Ras Al Khaimah. The third week will be held from 18 to 20 February in Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain, and will be hosted by the American University of Sharjah and Ajman University – Ajman Branch. Dubai will be the last stage in the UAE Hackathon, where competitions will be held at Zayed University from 25 to 27 February 2018. All residents of the UAE can participate in the Hackathon, and no specializations or professions are required. The only requirement is online registration, preferably as teams rather than individuals.
Following the online registration on TRA website, applicants will be contacted to coordinate with them regarding the Hackathon location, selection and distribution of the teams, and the date of participation. The decision process is conducted by a panel of experts in this field. The panel will evaluate and discuss the submitted ideas of the participating teams, make a final decision, and announce the results. On the other hand, the participants will be introduced to the required criteria a week before the start of the Hackathon. These criteria include data utilization efficiency, product adoption and sponsorship probability, product marketing strategy, and sustainable marketing plan for the product or idea reached by the participating team.