AI TechVerse 2021

TechVerse is a flagship Artificial Intelligence extravaganza by the National Centre of Artificial Intelligence (NCAI); wherein two major events: “Artificial Intelligence Ideas Challenge (AIIC)”, Annual NCAI Lab2Market event “AI Expo 2022” takes place.

National Centre of Artificial Intelligence (NCAI) at NUST organised its
flagship initiative AI TechVerse 2021 at the NUST main campus from
August 30 to 31, 2021. H.E. Dr Arif Alvi, President Islamic Republic of
Pakistan, graced the occasion as chief guest.
The event brought together top AI-focused start-ups and innovative minds from across the country and provided them with a platform to showcase their innovative ideas and prototypes. The President visited the Expo and Startup stalls before commencement of the ceremony at the Jinnah 
Auditorium of the university.

Addressing the audience, the President eulogised NUST and NCAI for conduct of TechVerse, which, he hoped, would give impetus to indigenous development of AI-based technologies  and eventually bode well for import substitution in the domain and hence the national economy. Extolling the Centre for developing technologies in an array of fields, including transportation networks, media analytics, digitisation, healthcare systems, etc, he stressed the need for reaping benefits from the fast-advancing field of AI, which he termed a linchpin of economic development in these epoch-making times. He lauded NUST for transcending itself as a leading S&T university and undertaking mega initiatives of national significance (such as establishment of country’s first-ever S&T Park and facility for manufacturing of heart stents, both of which were inaugurated by H.E. Mr Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan). 

Federal Minister for Education, Mr Shafqat Mahmood, remarked that digital learning has been around for years but engaging students in learning proved to be a challenge

Figure 1: Rector NUST receiving President of Pakistan and Federal Minister of Education
Figure 1: Rector NUST receiving President of Pakistan and Federal Minister of Education
Figure 2: Federal Minister of Education
Figure 2: Federal Minister of Education
Figure 3: Executive Director HEC Dr Shaista Sohail
Figure 3: Executive Director HEC Dr Shaista Sohail

However, he said, the advancement of technologies in the fields such as AI, would bring about improvements in personalised learning experiences of students. He opined that instead of teachers catering to learning needs of each student individually, a system where algorithms identify the gaps in a student’s understanding and provide active feedback would be quite effective.
Executive Director HEC Dr Shaista Sohail said that the initiative of NCAI is aligned with the HEC’s vision of modernising varsities. Not only has the Centre been developing solutions to our indigenous problems using the powerful tool of AI, but also positively impacting the lives of society at large.

Earlier in his welcome address, Rector NUST Engr Javed Mahmood Bukari emphasized the importance of AI and highlighted that in a short span of its inception, NCAI has developed as many as 280 indigenous solutions, including Fast Grant Proposal for Covid-19, Forest Monitoring & Change Detection, Audio Data Analysis, Smart Media Monitoring and Analytics, Sentiment Analysis and Urdu Speech Recognition System, Smart Cleaning & Waste Management System, Autonomous Vehicle Localisation System, Pulmonary Tuberculosis System, etc. He further said that in March 2021, NCAI, in collaboration with the Ministry of Science & Technology has inaugurated the smart cities programme, which is geared towards modernising Pakistani cities by introducing various smart products and services. 

Figure 4: Rector NUST Eng Javed Mahmood Bukari
Figure 4: Rector NUST Eng Javed Mahmood Bukari
Figure 5: Central Project Director/Chairman NCAI Prof Dr Yasar Ayaz (Pride of Performance)
Figure 5: Central Project Director/Chairman NCAI Prof Dr Yasar Ayaz (Pride of Performance)

Chairman NCAI, Dr Yasar Ayaz, also apprised the audience of some of NCAI’s initiatives.The two-day event was attended by a large number of students, academics, industrial representatives, entrepreneurs and AI enthusiasts. President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce, Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, was chief guest for the opening session. AI Techverse 2021 was divided into three main segments. “AI Expo” entailed exhibition of industrial AI-related projects and presentations by some very capable individuals from research labs and NCAI partners. While, the “AI Ideas Challenge” was designed for young entrepreneurial minds to pitch their brilliant ideas within the vast scope of AI, and “Bol AI,” aimed at enhancing public awareness about prospects in the field.

AI Ideas Challenge

AI IDEAS Challenge is an initiative that will welcome ideas/pitches from budding startups and existing small-scale startups in the market. The event promises to bring prospective investors and venture capitalists on board to fund potential game-changing proposals.

AI Expo

AI Expo 2021 marks the inaugural industry meet and greet event of the National Centre of Artificial Intelligence. First time in the country’s history, a platform is bringing together representations from the academic and industry spheres of AI in Pakistan. The event comprises of various networking sessions and talks by internationally acclaimed experts in AI.

50+

Stalls

100+

Startups

2000+

Audience

20+

Speakers

Sponsors

Consortium Partners

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AI TechVerse 2021 Highlights