Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar hosted its third national Hackathon over the weekend, challenging university students to use their innovative programming skills to create novel digital applications.
Organized by the Carnegie Mellon Qatar student club ‘CarnegieApps’ and sponsored by iHorizons, Hackathon saw students from Carnegie Mellon Qatar and Qatar University compete in a 24-hour race against the clock to build mobile applications, web applications or games using any form of technology, for presentation to a panel of industry judges.
“The quality of work being developed within 24-hours is very impressive, with some of the ideas innovative and groundbreaking enough to be incubated in Silicon Valley,” said Francisco J. Guzman, a scientist at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), and Hackathon judge.
“When I see a résumé that includes participation in Hackathons, I immediately know that this is a student who can get things done and produce innovative ideas, which is why I hope Carnegie Mellon Qatar keeps nurturing this tradition by reaching out to more universities,” Guzman added.
Alongside Guzman, Maher Hakim, associate professor of entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon Qatar and Hackathon faculty advisor; Julien A. Abi Nahed, R&D executive at Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP); Faraj Abdulla, innovative leader at Girnaas; and Mohammed Benmessaoud, service delivery manager, telecom, at iHorizons, made up the judging panel.
“We are glad to contribute in enhancing the skills and capabilities of Carnegie Mellon Qatar students and to boost their confidence on translating their ideas into tangible products, as those young innovators will be the next generation of Arab World’s business and technology leaders,” said Mohamad Takriti, chief executive officer of iHorizons.
Applications presented to the panel were judged in four winning categories that included ‘Best Design’, ‘Best Commercial Application’, ‘Best Rookie’ and ‘Best Technical Award’.
Team ‘Leesin’ of Carnegie Mellon Qatar, were awarded ‘Best Commercial Application’ for a mobile application aimed at helping corporations improve staff traffic issues through carpooling. The application also addressed regional cultural sensitivities by ensuring users are able to choose who they travel to work with.
“Events like Hackathon encourage us to go that extra mile, helping us to get creative and come up with innovative ideas by applying what we learn in the classroom into real life scenarios,” said Aliaa Essameldin, a computer science sophomore at Carnegie Mellon Qatar and ‘Leesin’ team member.
Additionally, this year’s participants, also known as hackers, were given the opportunity to learn about different aspects of programming, problem solving, information systems and computer science through individual sessions with mentors comprising Carnegie Mellon alumni and past Hackathon participants from QCRI, General Electric, Aviate Studios, Sidra Medical and Research Center and Texas A&M University at Qatar.
For more information about CarnegieApps and Hackathon please visit www.carnegieapps.com and for more information on how to apply to Carnegie Mellon Qatar please visit https://www.qatar.cmu.edu/admission.
The application deadline for fall 2015 is March 1.
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