Malaysians shine at global AI championship

AFTER nine months of intense work, a team of Malaysian students emerged champions at the Atos IT Challenge 2020.

Team PestKillerBot stood out among teams from 27 countries, including Germany, China, France, India and the United Kingdom (UK).

The team from Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) comprises Loo Chee Hin (team leader), Andrew Chung Hui Yue, Yong Ee Ren, and Yeo Khang Hsien – students of the Intelligent Systems and Cloud Computing programmes at APU.

They walked away with 10,000 euro (RM48,600), and each student was offered the opportunity either to complete an internship at Atos or to work together with the company to develop their project.

This is the ninth instalment of the Atos IT Challenge – an international competition organised by Atos to empower students from around the world to develop applications connected to major trends in the digital revolution.

This year, the theme of the competition was “Cooperative Artificial Intelligence”. Participating teams were required to develop real-world solutions using machine learning technologies.

The students came up with an innovative concept of improving floriculture using cooperative artificial intelligence (AI) technology and pest-killing drones.

Their project, the PestKillerBot, is an easy-to-use application that eliminates pests in floricultural fields using drones that perform pest control and data collection through cooperative AI technology.

It took them nine months to develop a drone prototype with a 3D printer and several components.

Each shortlisted team was coached and mentored by Atos staff worldwide. The team from APU were guided by Atos UK & Ireland client innovation head Andy Wallace.

“The topic of Cooperative Artificial Intelligence was a challenging one, made more so by the global lockdown caused by Covid-19.

“The team from APU worked tirelessly to produce a superb application that wowed the judges and secured them the first place, ahead of excellent teams from prestigious universities in Croatia and Mexico,” said Wallace.

The competition’s first runner-up was Instituto Tecnologico de Estudios Superiores Monterrey, Mexico, whereas Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Croatia, walked away the second runner-up.

A Special Jury Prize was awarded to Loughborough University, United Kingdom.

APIIT Education Group chief executive officer Datuk Parmjit Singh congratulated the team for their “tremendous achievement”.

“We are proud of the team, who has managed to outperform other teams worldwide, despite the current circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This has placed Malaysia on the global technology map, and we have again proven that our students are highly capable of competing with IT talents around the world,” he added.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Digital Awards Ceremony was held virtually via a live telecast aired from Paris, France.

“Every difficulty makes up the steps to climb the stairs of success. We are glad that we didn’t give up and gave ourselves a try to climb to the top.

“Our team has worked hard and we are overwhelmed that we brought pride to Malaysia. Malaysia Boleh!” said Chee Hin during the ceremony.

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