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Zindi Attracts 1000 African Students to Create AI Models for Climate Change


UmojaHack Africa 2023, a 2-day event for data scientists that aims to solve Africa’s toughest challenges through machine learning, was hosted by Zindi, the network for data scientists, on March 18–19, 2023.

It brought together over 1000 students from 345 universities in 36 countries to create machine learning models for climate change.

With over 1000 participants, UmojaHack Africa 2023 was the biggest pan-African inter-university machine learning hackathon. The two-day event was supported by a number of companies, including Mara, DeepMind, Kaggle, MPOWER Finance, African Energy Chamber, and InstaDeep.

The CEO and co-founder of Zindi, Celina Lee, issued the following statement: “With the world facing a catastrophic lack of data talent in the next 5–10 years, UmojaHack Africa serves a key worldwide need in locating and upskilling growing data talent from new countries. We are overjoyed by the participation and energy of the students at UmojaHack Africa 2023 this year and can’t wait to watch these budding stars grow into prosperous professionals on the Zindi platform.

From dorm rooms, computer labs, and student hubs all around the continent, more than 1000 students took part. They toiled day and night in 36 different nations, including South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt, as well as four distinct time zones.

The most well-liked challenge was to anticipate carbon emissions on the African continent using machine learning. Other challenges concentrated on modeling cryptocurrencies and resolving Rubik’s Cubes using reinforcement learning, one of the cutting-edge AI techniques employed in ChatGPT.

Each challenge’s winners are: Akram Badreddine Laissaoui and Nazim Bendib from Algeria’s École Nationale Supérieure d’Informatique (ENSI) won the Rubik’s Cube Reinforcement Learning Competition. Wiem Khlifi, Malek Sahlia, and Firas Jaadari from Tunisia’s École Nationale des Sciences de l’Informatique (ENSI) were the champions of the Cryptojacking Detection Challenge. Stephen Kolesh from Kenya’s Multimedia University (MMU) won the Carbon Dioxide Prediction Challenge.

Around $10,000 worth of cash and online learning licenses were awarded to students as rewards. Mara, DeepMind, Kaggle, MPOWER Finance, the African Energy Chamber, and InstaDeep were some of the sponsors for the event who provided insight and datasets to make it successful.

No other event brings together more educational institutions in Africa than Zindi, which has increased the network of participating universities to approximately 350 higher education institutions, academies, technical colleges, and bootcamps across the continent. Several of the top institutions on the continent are included in this, including, among many others, AIMS, the University of Cape Town, Makerere University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and Cairo University.

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The day’s speakers included DeepMind Senior Research Engineer Avishkar Boopchand, who said, “We need Africans to produce African answers to African problems. The young, talented, and eager populace on the continent really excites me. Because we don’t have outdated technology or an aging population, we can advance faster than the industrialized world, learn from their failures, and take use of technological innovation to address issues and spur prosperity. Our communities, which include groups like Zindi, UmojaHack Africa, Masakhane, Deep Learning Indaba, SisonkeBiotik, and Data Scientists Network (DSN), to name a few, are our greatest asset. Students have the opportunity to join an extraordinarily strong network of like-minded individuals who will influence the future of the continent at UmojaHack Africa.

In order to make data science and artificial intelligence (AI) talents available to businesses on the African continent, Zindi was founded in Cape Town in 2018. With a network of 60 000 data scientists from more than 180 countries enrolled on the platform.

Black Sisters in STEM, Data Science Zimbabwe, Data Scientist Network, Eloquent Data, GIZ FAIR Forward, Women in AI Worldwide, Women in AI South Africa, Data Community Africa, NACOSS, African Business, and AI Media were some of this year’s partners for the event.

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