NYUAD to Host First-Ever Quantum Computing Hackathon in the Middle East

NYUAD will host world-leading academia and industry experts in quantum computing including AWS, Google, IBM, MIT, Stanford, Yale, and AstraZeneca who will also serve as mentors

NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) will host the region’s first-ever Quantum Computing International Hackathon with a focus on innovation, entrepreneurship, and advanced industries, from March 30 to April 1, at the NYUAD Conference Center.

The three-day programming marathon will see renowned international computer science professors, founders of successful startups, technology professionals, and venture capitalists come together at NYUAD to lead teams of talented computer science students from all over the world – with the majority of students from the Arab world – to solve complex algorithms. The teams will develop innovative applications relevant to diverse fields such as health, education, film, music, business, and science for the benefit of social good in the Arab World and globally.

This year, more than 200 participants from more than 30 countries will convene at NYUAD and learn about quantum computing and quantum-based technologies using Amazon’s Braket SDK to access the newly made available Oxford Quantum Circuits quantum computer “Lucy”. 

Participants will work together as cross-disciplinary and diverse global teams to develop their own solutions in social good with quantum computers.

Learning top practices in software development, students will get a rare opportunity to be mentored by leaders in both industry and academia. This event will provide valuable insight into the full cycle of creating a tech startup, and create prospects for future international project collaboration, launching startups, and undertaking academic research. The best applications will be eligible for prizes.

The NYUAD Hackathon for Social Good will be supported by experts from academia such as AWS, University of Calgary Institute for Quantum Science; Quantum Algorithms Institute (Canada); and the QC researcher for the University Linz, Austria, qBraid, and the Quantum Coalition Hackathon by Yale and Stanford.

Experts from businesses including Microsoft, AstraZeneca, IBM, AWS and qBraid will also be represented and available as a source of mentorships to the participants.

Over the last ten years the Annual NYUAD International Hackathon for Social Good 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.

NYUAD Affiliated Faculty and Clinical Professor of Computer Science Sana Odeh, who organized the event, commented: “This year’s Hackathon for Social Good is an important event as we celebrate its tenth year, and it is also the region’s first quantum computing hackathon. We’re proud to bring experts from all over the world, from leading institutions including Yale, MIT, and Stanford, to provide participants with high-level quantum computing education, to mentor teams, and, along with the students, explore solutions to a wide range of challenging projects.”

Our aim is to empower a new generation of students with the necessary skills to make a positive impact on the future of our society. Quantum computers will perhaps solve some of our hardest computational problems, which will promote innovation in computer science, tech startups, and the development of innovative technology from climate, healthcare, finance, security, to the arts, and of course the sciences.

NYUAD Affiliated Faculty and Clinical Professor of Computer Science Sana Odeh

Keynote speeches, open to the public, include Mike Pell, Director of The Microsoft Garage; multimedia artist, composer and writer, also a fellow at the center of Quantum computing at Yale,  Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky); Barry Sanders, Professor, Director, Institute for Quantum Science and Technology; Distinguished Chair Professor, University of Science and Technology China; Kanav Setia, CEO and founder of Qbraid; Robert Wille, Full Professor at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, and Chief Scientific Officer at the Software Competence Center Hagenberg GmbH, Austria, among others.

Established in 2011, the NYUAD International Hackathon for Social Good has seen more than 1,000 participants from more than 50 countries. Previous innovations resulting from the Annual NYUAD International Hackathon include applications that connect grocery stores with food shoppers to minimize food waste; locate missing refugees; tackle counterfeit medicine; offer affordable translations of texts, and increase employment in the Arab World, among others.