Computer science took centre stage at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) as 125 students from government and international schools in Qatar came together to showcase their programming skills.
The Alice Middle East Programming Competition was held for schools using the Alice Middle East software to learn computing. Twelve government and international schools use Alice Middle East for their Information Communication Technology (ICT) courses. For 2017-18 academic year, CMU-Q and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education are preparing to roll out the programme in all Qatar schools teaching ICT.
CMU-Q Dean and CEO Ilker Baybars said it’s wonderful to see the quality of work that students prepare using Alice. Students in Qatar will continue to develop the concrete skills they will need for their careers.
The students developed their Alice projects in the classroom and presented to the judges on competition day. Teams were judged on creativity, oral presentation skills, and use of motion, design, camera and sound. The judges represented academic and business organizations in Qatar, including the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Ministry of Transportation and Communication, Qatar Computing Research Institute, College of the North Atlantic-Qatar, Education Above All and Foresight. Qatar Electricity and Water Company contributed prizes for the winning teams.
Alice is an interactive educational software that guides students through the basics of programming as they create virtual worlds and animations. The original Alice software was developed at the Pittsburgh campus of Carnegie Mellon.
In 2008, HH Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser expressed an interest in bringing the software to Qatar. Associate professors of computer science Saquib Razak and Yonina Cooper, who retired in 2013, submitted a proposal to localise Alice for the Middle East. Qatar National Research Fund’s National Priorities Research Programme (NPRP) funded the project in 2012.
The top five winning teams hailed from Al Khor International School, Omar Bin Al Khattab Secondary School, Middle East International School, Al Arqam Academy for Girls, Arwa Bint Abd Almotaleb Secondary School for Girls, and Al Bayan Secondary School.
For more information about the Alice Middle East Programming Competition, visit the Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar website at qatar.cmu.edu.