Team Tackling Environmental Challenges wins NYU Abu Dhabi first-ever Quantum Computing Hackathon

More than 160 participants from more than 20 countries, mentored by world-leading experts, joined the inaugural edition of NYUAD’s Quantum Computing International Hackathon for Social Good.

Qudra won first place for their project QEnergy, which tackled an environmental challenge by utilizing quantum technology on the distribution of renewable energy grids in order to enhance energy security and sustainability.

More than 160 participants from more than 20 countries participated at the region’s first-ever Quantum Computing International Hackathon for Social Good where world-leading computer science professors, startup founders, technology professionals, and venture capitalists such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), G42 Cloud, SandboxAQ, qBraid, Technology Innovation Institute (TII), IonQ, MIT, Yale, Stanford, The Microsoft Garage, and many more collaborated as mentors, judges, and speakers throughout the three days and provided the participants with insights, support, and guidance. 

“Being at the hackathon exceeded all my expectations. I made new friends and connections, gained new skills not only hard skills but important decision making skills,” said Qudra team member, Asil Qrainin, after winning the three-day event. 

Quantum computing is widely regarded as the next generational leap in the world of information technology, similar to the one experienced by the onset of the internet or by the development of silicon microchips. 

The main difference is our computers, or what is increasingly being referred to as classical computers, use transistors, which could only be 1 or 0. Quantum computing uses qubits, which can be 1 or 0 at the same time which increases the quantum computing power exponentially. As a result, quantum computing is much more powerful and can be great for running simulations and data analyses.

For example, Google’s quantum computer, Sycamore, performed a calculation that put it 158 times faster than the world’s fastest computer at the 2019 IBM Summit. The technology has a range of applications from being extremely helpful for running drug trials to cure diseases to being powerful enough to potentially pose a threat to the core technology that makes cryptocurrencies secure. 

“I’m proud and humbled by the efforts of these talented students who have contributed some truly original ideas that have the potential to change the world. The NYUAD hackathon is designed to empower a new generation of computer scientists with the necessary collaborative, cross-border skills to advance quantum computing capabilities here in Abu Dhabi and ultimately to make a positive impact on our society,” NYUAD Affiliated Faculty and Clinical Professor of Computer Science Sana Odeh, who organized the event, commented.

Odeh at the opening ceremony for NYUAD’s Quantum Computing International Hackathon for Social Good.

In second place was team qVerified, who developed an automated solution to verify the accuracy of algorithms that saves quantum developers time and effort.  Also in second place was team QSPirates, with their project QvsPy,  a quantum virus sensor stimulator detector for viruses such as COVID-19.

Khalifa University student and qVerified team member Omar AlRemeithi said, “This Hackathon connects people from all around the world where it aligns with EXPO 2020 theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.’ We are utilizing quantum computers for one purpose: the social good. This is a wonderful experience for the students, mentors, judges, and the volunteers where each person shares their diverse culture, technical skills, and creative ideas. As a student, I built my network through this hackathon.”

In third place was team Jumjuma, with their project MedQure, which uses blind quantum computing to allow healthcare clients with limited computational ability to securely classify sensitive medical data on an untrusted cloud based quantum computer. Sharing in third place was Team22 with their project mediQal, a web app focused on optimizing the routing of mobile medical services.

Over the last ten years the Annual NYUAD International Hackathon has resulted in the creation of multiple innovations that have contributed successfully to the region’s business operation. NYUAD remains committed to providing a thought-provoking platform that enhances innovation for the benefit of social good in the Arab World, as well as supporting the higher education sector in the UAE. The University’s focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and advanced industries supports the UAE’s 2071 Centennial Plan to diversify and shift to a skills-based knowledge economy.