The hackathon is organised and supervised by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in February and will continue until the International Open Data Day on March 4.

As many as 400 people of different age categories, field of specialisation and professions registered in the data for happiness challenge, up from a presumable number of 200 people, stressing the importance of the challenge for reaching solutions to the raised problems towards the ultimate goal of reaching happiness.

Salem Al Housani, Acting Deputy Director General of TRA – Information and eGovernment Sector, said: “In the data challenge, let us think and offer creative solutions and ideas for happiness and positivity.”

He pointed out that the Hackathon UAE coincides with two significant events: Year of Zayed and the centenary birth anniversary of the late Sheikh Zayedb Sultan Al Nahyan, who always said “my wealth is the happiness of my people”, and  UAE Innovation Month in Sharjah, the capital of light, creativity and culture, not only at the local level, but at the regional and global levels, as well.

Al Housani explained that this challenge is based on youth, data and happiness because the youth are the future makers and data is the new revolution and engine of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  

Noor Al Noman, Director of Sharjah eGovernment Department, expressed her thanks and appreciation to the TRA for this challenge, which contributes to reaching happiness through data. She pointed out that the hackathon is an opportunity for each of you to raise problems and then strive to work out solutions for them. 

The Hackathon gives an opportunity to hundreds of young people to use open data as a means of innovation and contribute to boosting the country’s economic growth. This is explained by the fact that the youth use the available data to reach practical solutions for addressing the existing problems and helping build a prosperous and delightful future.

Based on its belief in its social role and as part of its responsibility for pushing digital transformation at the federal level forward, the TRA launched the Hackathon UAE under the banner “Data for Happiness”. The UAE is well known for its great interest in open data due to its great effect on the UAE initiatives. The government strives to bolster the society’s participation in providing open data and using it in government initiatives in addition to expanding the customer base for the public welfare of the society. 

The hackathon theme and areas of challenge

As part of the hackathon and the associated challenge, some problems are raised including transportation and traffic congestion, health and safety, sustainable development and post-oil age, environment and climate change, education, gender balance and enhanced social relations and lifestyle.

The hackathon uses the groups of data available to work out practical solutions and conceptions in the given areas. After attending the training on the first day, the participants in the hackathon were divided into groups as per the problems raised in order to work out solutions to these problems and build the basic skills that they should have so as not to feel panic at the huge quantity of data available. Eligible participants frequently include university and high school students, public and private sector staff, journalists, researchers and experts. 

Foreign experts participated in Hackathon’s first day

Foreign experts participated in the preliminary sessions and gave information to the attendees as regards the importance of the hackathon and its role as a challenge for happiness. These included Katherine Townsend, Executive Director, Open Data Collaboratives; Professor Jeanne Holm, President, Open Data Collaboratives; Richard Kerby, President, Richard Kerby LLC, USA; Hatem Ben Yacoub, Data Scientist, Open Data Collaboratives and Tunisia Kaitlyn Holm, Data Scientist, Open Data Collaboratives.

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