Cognit and Etihad Airways to host ‘UAE Innovation Week’ hackathon

ABU DHABI, 16th November, 2016 (WAM) — Skills of over 30 talented computer science and engineering students from Abu Dhabi-based universities will be presented at a joint hackathon, in celebration of the nationwide Innovation Week 2016, being held between 20th and 26th November.

Hackathon is an event, typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.

Cognit, the joint venture established between Mubadala and IBM Watson, and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE have collaborated to host the event at Etihad’s state-of-the-art Innovation Centre.

UAE Innovation Week, part of the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy, is a week-long initiative for the nation to embrace and promote the country’s position as a global innovation hub. Throughout the week, partnerships and collaboration between the government, private sectors and the public, are encouraged to foster innovative thinking.

The students were selected from Abu Dhabi based universities, including the Institute of Applied Technology, Higher Colleges of Technology, Khalifa University and New York University Abu Dhabi, NYUAD.

Hackathon participants will utilize IBM Watson’s transformative cognitive technology to create new innovative applications to benefit the travel and aviation industry, one of the cornerstone sectors to support the diversification and growth of the UAE economy.

Competing over a three-day period, the students will be guided and evaluated by IBM Watson chief developer, Sam Richard, from IBM’s headquarters in New York.

Amal Al Jabri, General Manager, Cognit, commented, “The hackathon, in partnership with Etihad, demonstrates an important commitment Cognit has not only to advance the interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM, subjects and skills with students, but also to the broader local developer and start-up community who can help ignite the UAE’s knowledge based economy aspirations.”

Robert Webb, Chief Information and Technology Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, added, “This week’s hackathon alongside our partner, Cognit, demonstrates our passion for challenging the status quo. We encourage the students to think creatively to develop new solutions that could revolutionise our sector.”