Curro students take second place in international Microsoft-sponsored Imagine Cup Junior hackathon

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We’ve long known that South Africa is able to compete on an international stage. In everything from the arts to tech to scholastic achievement, SA has the potential to take on the best the world has to offer and this is no different. A team of Curro Academy students has taken second place in the Imagine Cup Junior Virtual Artificial Intelligence Hackathon, Girls Edition 2021.

That’s a long title but it’s a large competition so we’ll give them the grandiosity. The Microsoft- and UNSECO-backed competition sees student teams from the ages of thirteen to eighteen competing against schools from other countries by creating AI-based “…ideas to solve social, cultural and environmental issues.” You know, a hackathon.

Congratulating Curro

Curro’s Team Cognition assembled a presentation concerning how to track African wild dogs using an AI system. The work put in by the South African students was good enough to net the team second place in the online event, which was attended by entrants from 21 other countries including Brazil, Croatia and England.

Curro Academy’s Team Cognition, headed by Grade 11 student Tsakane Koko (pictured above), consists of Koko and five other students from Curro schools around the country: Hesme Cronje (Grade 12, Heritage House), Humbulani Mudziwa (Grade 12, Soshanguve), Anamika Beethasi (Grade 11, Waterfall) and Tahlia Bell (Grade 10, Mossel Bay).

Charlotte Jooste, phase head at Curro Academy Pretoria, said, “Their presentation focused on AI methods to pick up any indications in the wild dogs’ behaviour that could link to illness or other threats as well as interventions. This way, the animals receive little human intervention and therefore live a more ‘natural’ life. The team’s presentation also covered ensuring wild dogs will be protected from geological disasters, or processes like droughts, floods, etc, as well as human activities.”

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