Four students from Cambridge International School for Girls captured first place in the 4th annual Ibtikar Qatar competition held at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar on Saturday, January 28. The winning team presented a futuristic phone application for tourists visiting Qatar during the 2022 World Cup – named Madi, which means 'past' in Arabic. Teams from Musab bin Omair Secondary School and Dukhan English School won second and third place, respectively.
Ibtikar is an innovative information systems competition for high school juniors and seniors, which encourages students to design creative solutions using information technology to some of the important current challenges facing society, while at the same time raising their interest in the dynamic field of information systems. This year's challenge was to design an application for a Nirvana phone - a phone whose central processing unit (CPU) could power most applications and draw data from a computing cloud to aid tourists attending the World Cup, which would enlighten visitors about Qatar's history, culture and traditions.
According to the Cambridge International team who called themselves the 'Techno-Surrealists', "Madi is an application based for use of all ages." The team's app would allow users to access a virtual tour of Qatar through a Nirvana device. Users could enlist a virtual guide from a Qatari point-of-view on everything from pearl diving to discovering local fare. The all-female team included twins Dania Faidi and Rania Faidi, Eeshal Naeem and Hannas Said. The Faidi sisters plan to apply to Carnegie Mellon Qatar next year.
"Ibtikar has provided me with an innovative way to promote the culture and heritage of my country. I feel very proud and happy that my culture would remain alive by 2022," noted Al-Bayan junior and Ibtikar competitor, Amna Al-Hajri.Six weeks ago, the two-part program began with a workshop. At the workshop, 69 students from 13 schools were organized into small teams and tasked to create an app envisioning technology 10 years from now. "Students were exposed to the role that information systems and innovation play in the marketplace, having also gained first-hand experience in project management, problem solving and teamwork – the operational crux of information systems," said Selma Limam-Mansar, information systems coordinator at Carnegie Mellon Qatar.
"It is always an experience to see the innovative and creative side of students - Ibtikar has certainly revealed that. Qatar is building its future correctly by ensuring a strong foundation to their culture and heritage. CMU helps its students achieve this future through teaching its students to harness technology and providing potential students with a window to this future. Being new to Qatar, I wish some of these apps presented today, would have been present now for my own knowledge," noted Damian Durado, manager for Pre-College Programs and Community Outreach for Carnegie Mellon Qatar.
Teams were judged based on the originality of their vision, their grasp of technology, whether they used information systems effectively, grasp of design and presentaton. The judging panel consisted of Carnegie Mellon from the Program of Information Systems professors: Ray Tsai, Ian Lacey, Divakaran Liginlal, Selma Limam-Mansar, Daniel Phelps, Alex Cheek and program undergraduates Noora Al Sooj and Abhay Joseph.
The schools that presented posters in the Ibtikar Qatar 2012 final competition were the Academic Bridge Program, Al Bayan Secondary School, Al-Ieman Secondary Independent School for Girls, Amna Bint Wahab Secondary Independent School for Girls, Cambridge International School for Girls, Doha College, Doha Independent School for Boys, DPS Modern Indian School, Dukhan English School, Global Academy International, International School of Choueifat, Musab Bin Omair Independent Secondary School for Boys and Raba'a Al-Adawiya School.
The undergraduate program in information Systems at Carnegie Mellon University is ranked 2nd in information systems according to the 2011 US News and World Report, the pre-eminent American college ranking institution.