App to reduce food waste wins NYU Abu Dhabi’s annual hackathon

‘Wakkalni Food Savour’, an application that connects grocery stores with shoppers to minimise food waste won the 2019 Annual International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World. The three-day programming marathon was held at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) from 26-28 April.

Wakkalni Food Savour works by incentivising grocery stores to minimise food waste through discounting items that would otherwise be thrown away. It allows stores to share information about their produce and educates consumers about food products.

Member of the Wakkalni Food Savour team and NYUAD Class of 2021 student Sion Hau said, “Our project aims to reduce food waste, which is important as the annual cost of the UAE’s food waste reaches around 13 billion dirhams a year. We thought that this is a big issue that we need to solve as food waste is also a major driver for climate change. Through our project, we hope to curb food waste. I am glad we won this year’s Hackathon, but at the same time, I felt there are so many great ideas that the other teams addressed that are worthy of winning. Participants tried to tackle all sorts of social issues, including domestic violence, language processing, and a wide array of different things, and I really am glad we stood out among such competition.”

The annual NYUAD Hackathon seeks to promote innovation in computer science, tech startups, and the development of innovative technology for the social good. The event provides an opportunity for students to experience the full cycle of creating a tech startup: sharing, generating, and pitching ideas; learning new platforms and programming languages; designing and developing mobile and web applications; and working within a team.

“We are delighted to have hosted our eighth annual NYUAD Hackathon, one of the most celebrated Hackathons worldwide for its talent and outcomes. This year’s focus was on Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, data science, and Natural Language Processing (NLP), aiming to help produce software, hardware, and Augmented Reality (AR) applications for social good,” said Sana Odeh, Founder and Chair of NYUAD Hackathon, Clinical Professor of Computer Science at NYU New York and Affiliated Faculty at NYUAD.

“With over 1,000 applications from top universities from around the world, we have seen an array of impressive talent this year from more than 30 countries, and we have enjoyed seeing their innovative proposals and results,” she added.