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February 5, 2017

CMU-Q Organizes Annual Hackathon Competition

Students from across Qatar, as well as eight from Kuwait, one from India and one from Australia, came to Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) for the annual CarnegieApps Hackathon. A total of 55 students on 15 teams participated in the 24-hour programming competition held at the CMU-Q campus in Education City.
Hackathon 2017 was sponsored by Education Above All (EAA), Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) and Cosette Solutions, who provided judges, mentors and prizes for the event. Hackathon is an annual event where university students work around the clock to develop software for an innovative game, mobile application or web application using software of their choice.

The event is organized by students with guidance from associate professor of information systems Dan Phelps: “The CarnegieApps Hackathon is an opportunity for students to demonstrate everything they have learned to identify, tackle one of the challenges the sponsors are experiencing, and apply their skills to help solve that problem in a real world context.”

This year, Hackathon featured a new award category in humanitarian technology. Sponsored by Education Above All’s program, Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), the category challenged students to develop technology solutions to different humanitarian issues across the globe. PEIC's academic advisory director, Maleiha Malik, attended the closing ceremony.

The winning team in the new category created an algorithm that collects data using web-crawling, databases, and Google and Twitter trends. The algorithm creates a confidence level for each event, visualizes it using mapping tools, and creates a predictive model which highlights regions where an attack was possible. This would allow organizations such as EAA to contact agencies near those conflict zones to offer assistance.

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