AU Students clinch 1st place win in Artificial Intelligence Hackathon

Tinaye Makoni, Tapiwa Chamboko, Tinashe Maswaure and Gilbert Ncube secured a first place win the in the Zindi UmojaHack Zimbabwe Inter- University AI Hackathon held online on the 17th of October 2020. The Hackathon presents participants with real- world problems that they must solve through real- world machine learning some of which include  gender discrimination, conservation efforts among vulnerable wildlife populations, mobility and urban transportation networks, financial inclusion and agriculture. 

Walking away with the prestigious title and a cash prize, the team coded their way to victory beating out 10 competing teams under the mentorship of  Dr. Yogesh Kumar Awasthi and Ms. Lovely Tembani , Computer Information  Systems faculty in the university’s College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance.

The problem posed to the team was presented by Zimnat, a local insurance and financial management firm in collaboration with  Data Science Zimbabwe, and U.Lab.  Participants were tasked with  developing a loan prediction model that analyses trends in data to determine which loans are likely to result in bad debts and which are more likely to bring sustained repayments over time. A sample dataset of over 12 000 loans were provided for the modelling and trial process. 

Team Manager  and lead in the Africa University i5Hub Ms. Yolanda Washaya said of the win, ” This victory has put us on the  map as a University that has capable students on a Continental level in developing programmes that can solve the problems that big industry is confronted with. We have proven ourselves to be ready for the Education 5.0 revolution and drivers of this transition in higher education as we empower our future leaders to take the bold steps necessary to succeed in STEM fields. What our students have accomplished also serves as motivation for other students to compete in future hackathons and competitions.”

Zindi is the largest African data science competition platform with the mission of building the data science ecosystem in Africa. Zindi hosts a community of over 18,000 data scientists across Africa dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing challenges through machine learning and AI. Data scientists through Zindi, hone their skills, build their professional profile, connect with job opportunities, and share
ideas with their peers across Africa and beyond. Private companies, start-ups, governments, and NGOs work with Zindi to source the best data science and AI solutions, as well as proven talent for their specific needs.