A PhD student of the Quantum Research Group of Stellenbosch University, Abbas (Omid) Hassasfar, participated in the 11th Annual NYUAD International Hackathon for Social Good. The event was held in person at the New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) in the United Arab Emirates from 27 to 30 April 2023.
The hackathon, which focused on Quantum Computing and UN Sustainable Development Goals, was held in partnership with IBM, NYUAD Center for Quantum and Topological Systems, Technology Innovation Institute (TII), Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), qBraid, QWorld, NiEW, the MIT’s iQuHACK and others.
Nearly 200 students representing 56 universities from 24 countries attended the event. Professors around the world nominated their top students and Abbas was the only participant there from a South African university.
The programme brought together students from different fields, such as computer science, physics and electrical engineering, and also technology experts from different countries. The aim was to foster a culture of collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship to solve a real-world problem and focus on the useful advantage (supremacy) of Quantum computers.
During the event, participants worked in 15 different teams to suggest a problem and solution related to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using a quantum computer and showing a quantum advantage.
Abbas, who participated as a student/mentor in the hackathon, and his team won third prize for their project, ‘Focus on Good Health & Wellbeing.’ This project helps medical professionals with the early detection of malignant tumours in patients using quantum machine learning.
The experience was extremely motivating, allowing students to cooperate with other specialists in their area, learn about the latest breakthroughs in quantum computing, and work on projects with real-world implications. They also made long-lasting friendships with other participants and enjoyed visiting Abu Dhabi.
Abbas expressed his gratitude to NITheCS and New York University Abu Dhabi for providing him with this opportunity. He looks forward to attending similar events in the future.
The event wrapped up with a prize-giving: