CMU-Q hosts first Alice Middle East programming competition
May 28 2016 01:24 AM


Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) hosted the inaugural Alice Middle East programming competition, hosting 148 students from nine independent and international schools in Qatar.
The top five winning teams were from Al Khor International School, Middle East International School, Al Arqam Academy for Girls, Mesaieed International School, and Arwa Bint Abd Almotaleb School for Girls.
Three special prizes were awarded to a team from Mohamed Bin Abdel Wahab School for Boys in the category of most creative idea, a team from Al Arqam Academy School for Girls for best design, and a team from Omar Bin Al-Khattab School for Boys for best presentation.
Students created projects in Alice in five different categories: environment, sports, entertainment, transportation and social values. They came together at CMU-Q to present their projects to the judges, whose scores were based on creativity of the idea, oral presentation, visual and smooth motion, modularity and algorithm design, and use of the camera, sound and motion controls.
“Alice Middle East is an excellent resource to introduce computational thinking to young people, who will need these crucial problem-solving skills when they enter the workforce,” said Ilker Baybars, dean and CEO, CMU-Q.
Alice Middle East was created with support from Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) which has funded the project since 2012. The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) has been instrumental in distributing the programme to schools where teachers can use it as a tool to teach the computer science curriculum.
‘Alice’ is a software that guides students through a 3D interactive world, teaching them the fundamental skills of programming and computational thinking. Created at the main Carnegie Mellon campus by Randy Pausch, professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design, Alice came to the attention of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, at Pausch’s death in 2008. At her request, CMU-Q developed a Middle Eastern version that incorporates the culture and traditions of Qatar.
The jury comprised of experts from QNRF, MoEHE, Qatar University, Qatar Computing Research Institute and Qatar Airways. Commercial Bank donated the prizes.

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