Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE is organising the largest data competition in the country during the UAE Innovation Month this February, it was announced.

Taking place across all seven emirates, the UAE Hackathon is opening the chance for all segments of society to take part in building the future of the UAE by using open data as a tool for innovation.

The nationwide competition, organised by The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), is targeting students, entrepreneurs, employees and experts in the UAE who will be given access to open data and compete in coming up with solutions that will advance the UAE towards a prosperous and happy future, officials said on Wednesday.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, TRA director-general, said the UAE Hackathon, under the theme ‘Data for Happiness’, will be held at six different universities across the UAE and will revolve around topics of particular interest to the government and civil society.

“As the UAE leadership has set happiness as the ultimate goal of its strategies and policies, we have expressed this in the theme of the hackathon. We have selected eight challenges for the competitors to find solutions. These challenges revolve around topics such as transport, education, economy, health and others,” he said.

How to sign up

Residents and citizens can register for the UAE Hackathon through https://www.tra.gov.ae/en/media-hub/hackathon.aspx

At least 1,900 people, including competitors, observers, volunteers and advisers have registered in the competition, which will also see prizes worth over Dh600,000 distributed to winners at the end of the competition.

Uhoud Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Quality of Life and director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, lauded TRA’s innovative initiative which, she said, focuses on achieving the community’s happiness and improving the quality of life in the UAE. She stressed that the challenges posed by the Hackathon relate to daily life, and the use of big data for achieving happiness, finding practical solutions to challenges, and enhancing opportunities.

Salem Al Hosani, acting deputy director, E-government and Information Sector, TRA, said Abu Dhabi will be the first emirate to host the Hackathon, after which it will move to other emirates. Umm Al Quwain and Ajman will have one joint Hackathon.

“Each hackathon will take place in three days,” he explained. “The first day is assigned for training. A team of experts will explain to participants the essence of hackathons and teamwork in developing ideas and solutions from data,” he said.

Participants will be trained in how to integrate and analyse data to come up with patterns that help shape ideas and solutions.

“On the second and third days, participating teams of four-six members will examine the available data, and each will look at the data from its own perspective. For example, the media professionals might look at the data in a way that is different from the way a health expert or an environmental officer might look at it,” he added.

Six Universities holding the challenge

  1. Abu Dhabi: Khalifa University
  2. Ras Al Khaimah: American University of Ras Al Khaimah
  3. Fujairah: Ajman University, Fujairah branch
  4. Sharjah: Sharjah University
  5. Ajman and Umm Al Quwain: Ajman University, Ajman branch
  6. Dubai: Zayed University

- Residents and citizens can register for the UAE Hackathon through https://www.tra.gov.ae/en/media-hub/hackathon.aspx