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NYU Abu Dhabi Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World

UAE

NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) will host the 11th edition of the NYUAD Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World with sustainability as its key theme. The event will take place from April 27-30, and welcomes over 200 students from 24 countries who will leverage Quantum Computing to develop innovative solutions to challenges related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This hackathon will cover a diverse range of sectors, including health, education, film, music, business, and science. Garnering a reputation that attracts world leaders in the field, this year will see renowned global computer science professors, founders of successful startups, technology professionals, and venture capitalists come together at NYUAD to lead teams of talented computer science students from across the globe, with a majority from the Arab world, to create mobile and web applications for the betterment of society.

Students will have the rare opportunity to learn key practices in Quantum Computing (QC), Quantum hardware, and software developments from 51 mentors, who are global leaders across industry and academia.

Participants will explore quantum computing solutions to a wide range of challenging projects from machine learning and AI to physics (complex simulation problems), chemistry, computer science, healthcare, maths, to online gaming, security, social sciences and the arts (quantum-generated artwork).

The diverse and cross-disciplinary teams (consisting of five to seven students and two mentors per team), will then work together to use these new QC skills for social good and to make a positive impact on the future of society.

Bringing experts from world-leading institutions, like MIT, ETH, and Stanford, as a source of sponsorship and mentorship for participants, this event provides a valuable insight into the full cycle of creating a tech startup, and cultivates opportunities for future international project collaboration, launching startups, and undertaking academic research.

The NYUAD Hackathon for Social Good will be supported by top global Quantum Computing experts from both industry and academia, such as The NYUAD Center for Quantum and Topological Systems; Technology Innovation Institute (TII), Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), ETH Zurich in Quantum Information, University of Calgary’s Institute for Quantum Science and Technology (IQST), the MIT’s iQuHACK, QWorld, as well as experts from world-class businesses including IBM, qBraid, and NIEW.

NYUAD Affiliated Faculty and Clinical Professor of Computer Science at NYU, Sana Odeh, who organises the event, commented: “In light of UAE’s Year of Sustainability and our participation in the COP28 Universities Climate Network, our 2023 Hackathon theme of building solutions to challenging problems related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals using quantum computing technologies is a testament to our commitment towards helping drive sustainable growth in the UAE, this region, and beyond and ensuring a sustainable future.”

Odeh added: “The calibre of partnerships and participating experts in the field this year, demonstrates the reputation our event has garnered globally. In addition to our new role in the COP28 Universities Climate Network, we believe that the Hackathon is a fantastic opportunity to work together with the youth, the climate leaders of tomorrow, to showcase the potential and capabilities of technology and Quantum Computing to find solutions to sustainability challenges.

“The event has been a launchpad for careers of past participants, who gained scholarships, jobs, and even launched their own startups. Last year’s innovations resulting from the NYUAD International Hackathon include applications that optimise the routing of mobile medical services; detect viruses such as COVID-19; verify the accuracy of algorithms; enhance energy security and sustainability; allow healthcare clients with limited computational ability to securely classify sensitive medical data; and increase employment in the Arab World, among others.”

Keynote speeches, open to the public, will be led by leaders in the Quantum Computing and SDG fields, and include Loay Elbasyouni, who is a Palestinian-American electrical engineer who worked on the NASA team and was the lead engineer for designing the innovative robotic helicopter (Ingenuity) that landed on Mars in 2021; Özge Aydoğan, Head UN SDG Lab, Switzerland; Heike Rill, Head of Science & Technology and Lead of IBM Research Quantum Europe; Graham Alabaster, Chief of the Geneva Office of UN Habitat; Marieke Hood, Executive Director Impact Translator, GESDA; and Davide Venturelli,  Associate Director, Quantum Computing, Nasa Ames Research Center – Quantum AI Laboratory, NASA/USAR, among many others.

Acclaimed Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, will return to Abu Dhabi for an evening of NY-based electronic music and hip hop concert on April 27 from 7-9pm at the NYUAD campus.

In its 11th edition, the three-day programming marathon marks over a decade of the NYUAD Quantum Computing International Hackathon, which was founded for the benefit of social good in the Arab world and globally. The NYUAD International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World has seen more than 1,000 participants from more than 50 countries. The event has been a launchpad for careers of past participants, who gained scholarships, jobs, and even launched their own startups. Last year’s innovations resulting from the NYUAD International Hackathon include applications that optimise the routing of mobile medical services; detect viruses such as COVID-19; verify the accuracy of algorithms; enhance energy security and sustainability; allow healthcare clients with limited computational ability to securely classify sensitive medical data; and increase employment in the Arab World, among others.

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