Friday, July 19, 2024

3 Teams of MBZUAI Dominate Alibaba Hackathon with Top Prize


Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 3 teams of students from Mohammed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) won the top prizes at the recent Alibaba Hackathon held in Dubai.


GITEX Global is the region’s most prominent tech event, including the entire digital economy. It is held annually at the Dubai World Trade Centre, bringing together the brightest minds and groundbreaking innovations that reshape the reality of future tech. 

This year’s GITEX Global was held from the 16th to 20th October 2023, exploring the theme of “Future Technology, Future Lives’, digging into the transformative impact of technology on different aspects of lives. The Alibaba hackathon was a part of the GITEX Global AI Innovation Festival, one of the largest technology conferences in the world.


Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) is a graduate school in Abu Dhabi. It was founded in 2019 as part of the United Arab Emirates’ strategy to become a leader in artificial intelligence. The research focuses on various areas, including machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing and robotics. The university’s current president is Professor Eric Xing.

Impacts of Alibaba Hackathon

Alibaba Hackathons at GITEX Global had an essential impact on various stakeholders, promoting learning, collaboration, and innovation. Developers gain new skills and connections; businesses discover fresh talent and solutions.


The 1st place team of Alibaba Hackathon, with the members Kane Lindsay and Hawau Olamide Toyin, both master’s students at MBZUAI, presented TalkTrain, a smart business assistant designed to help people practice and prepare for public speeches and presentations. The application uses generative AI to replicate how a human might coach someone preparing to give a presentation, including asking subject-specific questions and providing feedback.


The 2nd place team, with members Anees Ur Rehman Hashmi, a master’s student at MBZUAI, and Mai A. Shaaban, a PhD student at MBZUAI, developed Anaaya. This generative AI application can predict poor drug interactions based on patient information. The application uses a technique called retrieval augmented generation to provide physicians with relevant information and recommendations to help them make better decisions about prescribing medicines to patients.

Virtual Museum Tour Guide

The third-place team, comprised of Thanh-Cong Ho and Duy-Khai Doan, both master’s students at MBZUAI, created a Virtual Museum Tour Guide. This AI-powered application can provide museum visitors with accurate information about a museum’s collection. The application utilizes natural-language processing, speech recognition, and object detection to allow users to capture images of objects or QR codes with a camera phone and receive relevant information.

The Alibaba hackathon experience has also inspired the students to continue pursuing their entrepreneurial aspirations. They encourage other students to participate in similar competitions to sharpen their skills, expand their professional networks, and gain valuable insights into the world of technology startups.

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