Posted on December 12, 2018

Dell EMC announced the winners of ‘Envision the Future’, the annual graduation project competition for Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region. The winning team were students of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Qatar University. The competition in its third year witnessed significant growth from the previous editions with over 329 project submissions by more than 1,450 senior undergraduate students, representing more than 70 universities in 18 countries in the region.

‘Envision the Future’, sponsored by the Egyptian Centre of Excellence (COE), aims to inspire and support technological innovations among youth in the region. Aligned with the Dell 2020 Legacy of Good goal to apply the expertise and technology by Dell EMC to drive human progress in underserved communities, the annual competition provides the opportunity for students to propose creative solutions to urban challenges.

Addressing the imminent issue of security, the innovative ‘Hardening Fingerprint Authentication System Using Intel's SGX Enclave Technology’ project earned Qatar University the first place from a group of 31 shortlisted projects from nine countries in the META region. With the aim of protecting sensitive personal data, the winning team developed a secure identification system, using the fingerprint as an example of biometric. The project stands apart because of its use of innovative technology including software guard extensions to create a protected area of execution in memory called an enclave, allowing the protection of data even if the machine or operating system are compromised.

Qatar University was chosen as the winner through a blind review process by 25 professors from leading universities, located around the world and outside of the META region, ensuring the fair evaluation of all submitted projects. The winners were judged in the criteria of project idea, implementation, and presentation by technical experts from Dell Technologies. The other competition finalists creatively used emerging technologies such as IoT to demonstrate an automated irrigation system, prevent drowsiness-related traffic incidents, build a medical shield and a smart home. Students also used data driven analysis and interactive visualizations to capitalize on the data collected across time bound events in the region such as hackathons and Artificial intelligence (AI) to build a face recognition-based mobile application for a safe dismissal routine.

Witnessing significant year on year growth, the ‘Envision the Future’ competition saw 154 per cent more project submissions from last year. The increasing number of participants also witnessed an upward trend in female student participants, growing from 521 students last year to 794 this year. The third edition of the competition was uniquely characterized by all-female winning teams from the top three universities, indicating a positive trend of growing interest and skill in technology, among the future female workforce.

By providing an opportunity for students to showcase their ability to build world changing innovations, the competition drives the next generation of IT leaders to review a wide range of emerging technologies and apply the knowledge acquired from the Dell EMC Academic Alliance program in their respective universities. The annual competition coupled with the program prepares students for future careers in a transforming industry by equipping them with relevant marketable knowledge and skills.

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In his comment, Qatar University College of Engineering Dean Prof Abdelmagid S. Hammuda said, “We are proud of the innovative thinking our students have demonstrated in addressing real issues faced by businesses and people today, more so in this rapidly transforming landscape. As a premier national institution, Qatar University is committed to fostering innovation among the next generation of entrepreneurial minds through the provision of state of the art resources and collaborative opportunities like Dell EMC’s Envision the Future competition”.

In her comment, Department of Computer Science and Engineering Head Dr Sumaya Al Maadeed said, “The success of our students in this year’s region-wide graduate project competition furthers our efforts to be a powerhouse of intellectual and academic achievement. We are committed to get our students involved in international and local competitions to help them interact with experts and get the experience that would assist them in their university and professional life later”.

Ghassan Kosta, Country Manager – Qatar, Dell EMC commented, “The next era of digitization presents immense opportunities in the near future emphasizing the need for skill development among future generations. In line with our 2020 Legacy of Good Plan, we are committed to continue to equip students in the region with the knowledge, tools and networks required to ensure workforce readiness through the development of critical skills and to ultimately realize the digital future of the economy, specifically in Qatar. We congratulate Qatar University for their creative use of technology to drive digital transformation by addressing the imminent concern of security. We look forward to continue to inspire the next generation of innovators and enable them to drive innovation and human progress.”

Marwa Zaghow, EMEA Channel Senior Manager –Education, Dell EMC said, “The Dell EMC Academic Alliance program collaborates with universities in the region to develop the skills of the future and foster innovation among the next generation of IT professionals. Envision the Future provides the opportunity for hands-on learning and we have witnessed substantial growth in the competition over the years with regards to participation and quality of submissions. In addition to this, the increasing participation of young women paints a bright picture of gender diversity in technology highlighting their interest in careers in the field, a positive indicator for economic growth and cultural change in the region as well.”