Robo soccer games to be held
In an attempt to popularize coding culture in Ethiopia, young IT enthusiasts have teamed up to launch an academy that will cater to children at early ages.
Founders of iCog Labs, a startup IT business that specializes in the Artificial Intelligence, met up with Bethelhem Dessie, project manager and founder of Anyone Can Code (ACC), and brainstormed the establishment of the coding academy in Ethiopia. Launching the academy on Thursday, Getnet Assefa, Cofounder and CEO of iCog Labs, and Bethlehem said that the academy targets children aged between six and 13 and will give the opportunity to become coders at early ages. The age group is selected because that certain age is where children are expected to be more intuitively active for computing.
Situated in the International leadership Institute, the new academy is open to accept 30 children that will be trained in year-long coding courses. According to the founders, the academy will provide trainings on areas of robotics and artificial intelligence, coding and programing and the like.
Parallel to that, the iCog Labs is set to organize robotic soccer games that will be held late in February or early in March between the Addis Ababa University and Mekelle University. The two universities have been selected because they have financed the importation of the robots. Bethlehem told The Reporter that the machines will be activated with a software iCog Labs has developed to instruct the robots to execute orders.
Originally from Harar Regional Stare, Bethlehem said that she was able to code since she was 10 years old. She was one of the prize winning IT fans the ICT Center of Excellence and the Ethiopian Private ICT Professionals Association collaborate to organize annually. The 17-year-old Bethlehem has become a programmer and has been involved in many projects of public enterprises. Among others, she has worked for the Information Network Security Agency (INSA). In addition to the academy, Bethlehem is involved with a project the US embassy sponsored to train 100 young girls in coding and programming.
Getnet, a young IT aficionado, has the opportunity to travel to Silicon Valley and build valuable contacts that enabled him to jointly establish iCog Labs after his return from California. According to Getnet, iCog Labs was founded in 2013 with a USD 50,000 with three software professionals. Currently, the company has been able to have customers in the US, China, Germany, and Hong Kong that require research activities related to artificial intelligence.
Teaming up with Bethlehem, Getnet is poised to organize regular robot soccer tournaments in the country mainly focusing on university students. As an ice breaker, the Addis Ababa University IT students will face their Mekelle University counterparts.