March 17, 2017
By Hisham Sajid

Pakistan’s IT industry is booming. In the past decade alone, it has produced many success stories both locally and internationally.

ProBattle ‘17 -

Pakistan’s biggest tech olympiad

Pakistan’s IT industry is booming. In the past decade alone, it has produced many success stories both locally and internationally. However, with great success comes greater responsibility for the future IT professionals. Sensing the need to bridge the gap between academia and industry, IBA’s Computer Science Society (CSS) held its fifth edition of ProBattle from 3-5 March at IBA Main Campus.

The Computer Science Society is one of the biggest societies at IBA, and is the sole representative of the Computer Science community at the university. Its main goal is to inculcate a culture of learning and innovation amongst the students, so that they may have the necessary skills required to excel in the IT industry.

IBA ProBattle is CSS’s flagship event and is one of the biggest Tech Olympiads of Pakistan. 1100 participants from different institutes throughout Pakistan come to IBA for this three-day event and compete in 18 different tech-related competitions, which test their mettle as champions of their respective domain, which made this year’s edition of ProBattle the first to go national.

ProBattle ‘17 was unique in many ways. Two new competitions were introduced this year: Mobile Application Development, which was based on hackathon model, requiring participants to follow rapid application development process, and make a functional protoype of a stock market simulation app; and Game Development, in which participants had to build the best possible game in three days while staying within the predefined parameters. The Business Idea competition was also revamped to bring it up to pace with the current startup ecosystem of Pakistan while the Speed Programming and Database Designs have always been a hit with participants throughout the years.

One of the biggest attractions at this year’s ProBattle was IBM’s Watson, a cognitive technology that can think and talk like a human. Although the applications for this Artificial Intelligence powered supercomputer are virtually limitless, the demo at IBA was a fairly simple one, easy for everyone to understand. The Watson powered bot would basically use complex sentiment analysis and Natural Language Processing algorithms to tell whether a particular sentence spoken into a mic was positive or negative. If the sentence was positive than Watson would reward that person with candy, otherwise the person would be left with a curt remark.

Finally, after 3 days of hard work, exhibitions of tenacity and grit, nail-biting competitions and tiring workshops, ProBattle’17 ended. The closing ceremony included short addresses by the top hierarchy of the event; the Director General, Hanzallah Bin Ashar; the CEO, Ahsan Tanweer; the manager of CSS society, Ali Jawwad and Dr. Imran Rauf, patron of the Computer Science Society. Winners and runner ups of the competitions were awarded with trophies.

ProBattle ‘17 was attended by students from various universities and institutions, however only one university could take the trophy home, and this year, Umair Basha Institute of Technology (UBIT) walked away with the title of IBA ProBattle’17 Champion.