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India, Singapore governments organise hackathon

The Indian Institute for Technology in Madras (IIT-Madras), in collaboration with the Nanyang Technical University (NTU), organised the second Singapore-India Hackathon this week.

This year, the themes were good health and well-being; quality education; and affordable and clean energy.

This year’s problem statements for participants. [Image credit: The Ministry of Human Resource Development’s Innovation Cell]
This year’s problem statements for participants. [Image credit: The Ministry of Human Resource Development’s Innovation Cell]

At the prize distribution ceremony, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the role of innovation and start-ups will be crucial to help achieve India’s goal to become a US $5 trillion economy.

India is already among the top three start-up friendly ecosystems. During the last five years, it has prioritised innovation and incubations. Programmes like Atal Innovation Mission, the PM research fellowship, and the Startup India initiative are the foundation of 21st century India, he said.

The country is trying to promote modern technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and blockchain among students from as early as the sixth grade to create an ecosystem that becomes a medium for innovation, the Minister added.

He noted the country is encouraging innovation for two reasons. “One is we want easy solutions to solve India’s problems to make life easier. And another we in India want to find solutions for the whole world. India solutions for global application, this is our goal and our commitment,” he said.

The Minister also proposed a hackathon involving ASEAN nations to find solutions to tackle global warming and climate change.

In November 2018, the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the All India Council for Technical Education worked with Singapore’s NTU to organise a 36-hour competition, themed ‘Smart Campus.’ The hackathon had 20 teams of three university students each from India and Singapore.

Earlier this year, a hackathon was organised by India’s policy commission. NITI Aayog, with the vision to further expand the idea of ‘Artificial Intelligence, AI for All’, organised a hackathon to source sustainable, innovative, and technologically-enabled solutions to address challenges in the development space.

The objective of this hackathon was to promote awareness and subsequently develop solutions that deliver efficient computing to address the infrastructure challenges but not compromising on the privacy of data for training AI algorithms.

Another hackathon, the Smart India Hackathon (SIH) 2019¸ was organised in July by the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad on its campus. The event provided students a platform to use technology to solve problems faced in everyday life, inculcate a culture of product innovation, and develop a problem-solving mindset.

It was a unique open innovation model to identify new and disruptive technology innovations to solve challenges faced in the country. The SIH nodal centre at IIT-Hyderabad included nine teams from all over India consisting of six team members, each with two mentors.

The SIH was a five-day event where participating teams from all over India built prototypes to give solutions to problem statements provided by ministries and companies. Industry experts mentored the nine teams on diverse projects in areas such as drought control and ocean cleaning. Mentors guided their teams with design, practicality, and optimisation of the ideas.

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