KUWAIT – March 24, 2019 – Agility, a leading global logistics provider, is collaborating with the MIT Media Lab to host a four-day competition that opened Sunday and challenges teams of Kuwaiti tech students, coders and entrepreneurs to solve real-world societal and business problems.

The Data Agility Hackathon will be co-hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, one of the world’s pioneering interdisciplinary research laboratories. Experts from the MIT Media Lab are coaching 50 Hackathon participants working in teams of 10 to find ways to crack issues faced by consumers, businesses and the government.

Hackathon competitors will use high-powered tools to analyze data provided by Agility and Kuwait’s Public Authority for Civil Information. Among the questions they will examine:

  • Can satellite imagery unsnarl Kuwait’s epic morning traffic so we can get to work, school and the airport faster?
  • Can predictive analytics ensure that your favorite cosmetics and fashion items are in store when you go shopping?
  • How can data science speed online purchases right to your door, faster and more reliably than ever?

Thinkers and representatives from Kuwaiti ministries, universities, businesses, banks, technology innovators, start-up accelerators and foundations also are taking part. The data used by the teams includes satellite imaging, Kuwait traffic information, location-based data, and warehousing and freight data.

Tarek Sultan, Agility CEO & Vice Chairman, said: “The Data Agility Hackathon brings a new generation of Kuwaiti problem-solvers together to learn, grow, and use their skills to improve life. We are trying to foster a collaborative, creative mentality and develop the skills critical to the future of Kuwait and its citizens.”

Ryan McCarthy, Director of Member Relations at the MIT Media Lab, said: “Hackathons bring together intellect, creativity and the latest technology tools to address unique regional challenges. We’re enthusiastic about bringing our interdisciplinary approach to design, prototyping and problem-solving to this event.”

Sunday’s opening ceremony featured remarks from U.S. Ambassador Lawrence Silverman; Dr. Youssef Al-Ibrahim, Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of Kuwait Achievers for Future Opportunities (KAFO) Project; and Abdulrahman Al-Otaibi, a Kuwaiti doctoral candidate at the MIT Media Lab. The opening was followed by a panel discussion on the trends and implications of data science, automation and data privacy.

Dr. Al-Ibrahim said: “Following the vision and direction of His Highness, the Amir to continue to empower the youth of Kuwait, we initiated KAFO following the national youth project. It is our mission at KAFO to identify young talent and connect them to others so that they can learn and collaborate as part of our role in contributing to the knowledge economy. We are proud to be part of this advanced program which promotes problem solving through innovation to enable youth in building the future.”

Agility has been a member of the MIT Media Lab since 2017. The Data Agility Hackathon is supported by the Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Sciences and KAFO.