KAUST hosts hackathon to create apps for smart cities

Around 55 percent of the participants at the SAP Hackathon at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) were women.

THUWAL — King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has hosted developers and designers from around the Kingdom to the first SAP Mobile Hackathon to create mobile apps for the future smart cities.

The three-day event, which concluded on Saturday at the KAUST campus, is an outcome of a partnership between SAP, a global leader in software and technology solutions, the KAUST Innovation and Economic Development, KAUST IT and the KAUST Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering division.

“KAUST is committed to being a hub for innovation in the Kingdom, attracting talent locally and internationally to find solutions to shared global challenges,” said Dr. Kevin Cullen, vice president of KAUST Innovation and Economic Development. “The SAP Mobile Hackathon is a great way to support our innovators and creators to collaborate and develop the infrastructure of the smart cities of the future.”

The first KAUST and SAP Hackathon brought together 38 designers and developers to create new and inspiring mobile applications that can bring prosperity to future smart cities. A carefully chosen jury consisting of experts in the field selected the best performing team and evaluated the unique solutions the developed mobile app would bring to future smart cities.

Among the proposed mobile app ideas for smart cities were parking apps that help drivers find the nearest parking spot and carpooling apps.

Around 55 percent of the participants were women, which gives the opportunity to encourage and demonstrate the impact of diversity and the inclusion of women on business performance.

“KAUST IT is proud to be a part of the upcoming SAP Hackathon,” said Jason E. Roos, KAUST chief information officer. “We are especially excited about the high level of participation in this event by women and we want to encourage even more to join us,” he said.

“Science and technology are the core elements of what KAUST is all about and we know that these areas will determine the jobs of the future. So, encouraging more women to get involved in areas such as software development, data science, artificial intelligence and many other emerging technologies will not only serve to benefit Saudi Arabia and its future growth but also the entire world,” Roos added.

The participating developers, in addition to utilizing their skills in creating mobile applications. attended lectures and workshops that helped enhance their knowledge and sharpen their skills.

“The SAP Hackathon is a great opportunity for our students and other participants, as it brings state-of-the-art technology in the context of fast-paced problem solving,” said Dr. Mootaz ElNozahy, dean of the KAUST Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering division, ahead of the event›s launch. “Students should benefit tremendously. The event shows KAUST’s commitment to the education and development of talent for the Kingdom and the world.” — SG