Egypt: AUC students do well in international computer competitions

Egypt: AUC students do well in international computer competitions

CAIRO: Computer science and engineering students at AUC are consistently top performers at international competitions for developing software and technological devices. AUC teams received first prize at the Eleventh International Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS) and placed fourth in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition.

In addition, AUC students were selected as the best Windows mobile application team in the same competition. The chair of the computer science and engineering department at AUC pointed out that the university’s students are among the best in the world. “We have always secured a top position in the annual ACM International Programming contest. We are ranked number one in Egypt, the Middle East and the Arab region, and ranked among the top 30 teams worldwide,” Professor Amr el-Kadi said.

“In several Imagine Cup events, we were selected to represent Egypt, and once, our team was actually invited to dinner at Bill Gates’ home,” he said.

With 12 labs, including five specializing in computer architecture, systems engineering, networking, mobile and pervasive systems and embedded systems, AUC students are able to engage in advanced research in computing fields including mobile systems, operating systems, natural language processing, data mining and high performance computers.

“We are constantly adapting our programs to match world trends, and we are carefully incorporating new academic programs in accordance with a well developed plan to sustain the quality of our graduates,” said el-Kadi.

According to el-Kadi, AUC computing graduates are in demand by national and multinational corporations regionally and internationally. “Over the years, Microsoft has kept close ties with the university. In addition to hosting AUC students as interns at Microsoft Egypt and the Cairo Microsoft Innovation Center, Microsoft has recruited more than 40 AUC computer science and engineering graduates to its headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

“Our graduates participated in the design of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server. Another group is also working at Microsoft HQ in the United States in the Office divisions, Visual Studio, and Bing, the latest Microsoft Search engine,” a press release from AUC said.

As proof of its success, AUC’s Bachelor of Science program in computer science was recently granted renewed accreditation by ABET Inc. (formerly known as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).

“The program is the first in the world outside the U.S. to be accredited by the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (CSAB), the lead society within ABET for accreditation of programs in computer science, information systems, software engineering and information technology,” el-Kadi noted.

The first place team at ACM SIGASCCESS, included students Abdelrahman Mahmoud, a computer engineering senior; Youssef Kashef, an electronics engineering senior; and Mish Madsen a graduate student at the MIT Media Laboratory. The team was recognized for research contributed as part of the Affective Computing research group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Media Laboratory. Its project was a video-based system that analyzes facial expressions to interpret a person’s emotions. The innovation will help individuals on the autism spectrum recognize social cues and improve their communication skills.

“Our project is human centered so it is not just about computers and machines. People actually benefit from it,” said Kashef. The students are now preparing to enter the Association for Computer Machinery student competition finals this month.

“This collaboration with MIT was built through trust,” said Rana el-Kaliouby, supervisor of the project and an AUC alumni, who currently holds a research scientist position at MIT Media Laboratory, and also supervises AUC graduate and master’s students in computer science and engineering. “It shows that AUC can compete with top institutions around the world such as MIT, and that both parties have something to contribute to the other.”

In Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition, the world’s premier student technology competition, an AUC team, SmartGive, was ranked fourth among 63 teams from all over Egypt. SmartGive is a worldwide social network that links NGOs, volunteers and donors to projects serving people and communities in need according to their philanthropic or geographic interests. “We believe this is how technology could help alleviate the problem of poverty and inequality around the world,” said SmartGive team member Yasser Ebrahim.

Meanwhile another AUC-based team was selected as the Best Windows Mobile Application team. The team created “eXcreen,” a Windows-based mobile application that eliminates the restrictive boundaries of the traditional mobile screen. “Our next step is to patent the project and this award will accelerate the process,” said Alei el-Din Salem, team member and a computer science student. Once they receive a patent for their project, Salem and his team plan to enhance their project for real world functionality.

Republished with permission from bikya masr