AI project on food by Taiwanese-Malaysian student awarded

Taipei, Aug. 2 (CNA) A Taipei high school was recently honored for a project combining Malaysian cuisine and artificial intelligence sponsored by a government program for the children of new immigrants, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said Sunday.

The “New Immigrant Children Overseas Empowerment Program” provides subsidies to children of new immigrants to travel to their parent’s home country to encourage them to learn more about the country’s culture and language.

The program requires that participants submit a report on their trip after they return, and outstanding submissions are given a certificate and a voucher worth NT$5,000 (US$168).

One of the five awardees this year was Chen Ling (陳翎), a student at Jingmei Girls High School, who learned how to make traditional Malaysian dishes during her trip to Kelantan, the northeastern Malaysian state where Chen’s mother is from, according to the NIA.

During her trip, she also built a database of photographs and videos of similar Malaysian dishes and trained artificial intelligence software to distinguish between them, with a success rate of over 80 percent, the NIA said.

According to the NIA, a total of 36 groups of new immigrant children, their parents and teachers went on trips as part of the program during winter vacation this year, with each group receiving subsidies of up to NT$60,000.

The countries and regions they traveled to included Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, the United States, Thailand, Belgium, Malaysia, Honduras and China, the NIA said.

Although the program is usually held during both the winter and summer holidays, the summer round was canceled this year due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

New immigrants are broadly defined as foreign nationals who have emigrated to Taiwan within the past 20-30 years, many of whom have married Taiwanese spouses. The vast majority are from Southeast Asia and China.

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