STEMUP Educational Foundation, the non-profit organization that focuses on deepening science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) knowledge among Sri Lankan students, has successfully concluded the Hack:AI 2021 hackathon, organized in partnership with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Sri Lanka and in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM). Hackathon was powered by SLT-Mobitel, Trainocate Lanka, Altria Consulting and Impact IT Solutions as main sponsors.
The goal of Hack:AI 2021 was to provide a platform for school and university students to join the national movement that drives social impact by tackling some of the challenges related to certain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs ). This unique event helped young innovators in the country come up with innovative solutions using artificial intelligence (AI), data science and machine learning to address current challenges such as good health and well-being, quality education, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and communities, peace, justice and strong institutions, and life on earth.
Hack:AI was able to reach a wider audience and provide a level playing field by separating into two categories: the “School” category for students aged 13 to 18 and the “University” category for students aged 19. At 25 years. Launched in October 2021, the competition took place over a period of 6 months, offering its more than 100 participants the opportunity to interact with the best local and international experts in the industry through mentoring sessions while by designing, testing and improving their project solutions in their efforts to achieve their goal of promoting a sustainable way of life. An Ideathon was organized for participants in the school category where young people were challenged to develop new solutions to solve existing challenges in their communities. Competitors in the University category participated in a Datathon where they received a set of data and a limited time to use their creativity and data science skills to create, test and explore solutions. The judging panel, comprised of industry experts and academics in the respective fields, focused on problem identification, critical thinking/problem-solving skills, innovativeness of the solution, and AI applications in choosing the best solutions in each category.
The finalists in the university category saw five teams – Binary Brains (SLIIT), PROSTASIA (University of Colombo), AlgoPirates (University of Peradeniya), Go Viral (University of Kelaniya) and Eureka (University of Peradeniya) – compete for the big ones honors with PROSTASIA (University of Colombo) is chosen as the winner. In the School category, BitbyBit (Lyceum International School), SkillVisor (Gateway College, Colombo), Gogreen Technologies (Boys’ School, Malabe), Calori (Gateway College, Colombo) and Code Annites (St.Anne’s College, Kurunegala) were chosen as finalists with Calori (Gateway College, Colombo) in the lead.
Sharing his thoughts on the success of the event, Prabhath Mannapperuma – Director of STEMUP Education Foundation said, “Hack:AI 2021-2022 is another STEMUP initiative to get students interested in STEM education as early as possible in their life. This event helped nurture all attendees in multiple ways, primarily by improving their critical thinking skills, as well as their leadership, creativity, entrepreneurship and collaboration skills. It is important for Sri Lankan youth to keep pace with the rest of the world by focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship while harnessing the power of cutting-edge technology to tackle the most critical challenges. that the world faces today in a sustainable way. . We are proud to see that Hack:AI was able to provide these talented young people with a platform to showcase their abilities as they engaged with top experts in the field to learn and further develop their solutions. It was exciting to witness the wide variety of innovative solutions that were seen in both categories and it certainly bodes well for the future of STEM education in Sri Lanka.
The STEMUP Educational Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and inspire students to be interested in pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees and careers. The mission of the organization is fulfilled through the programs and resources it offers to the South Asian community. The Foundation provides educational opportunities and resources for everyone. Most of its resources are also offered free of charge as part of the vision to become a national model of passionate support for STEM education.