KUCHING – Two ICT undergraduates from Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus emerged champion at the grand finale of Bayer’s Digital Campus Challenge (DCC21) 2021, earning themselves a visit to Bayer’s LifeHub next year.
Alesandro Michael Ferdinand and Bryan Austyn Ichsan final-year Computer Science students from the School of Information and Communications Technologies beat 334 other teams when their proposal fulfilled the competition’s Data Science category of the competition. Under the supervision of Dr Lee Sue Han, Dr Joel Than and Dr Xavier Chee, the team aimed to develop a drug discovery web application.
According to Alesandro, their pitch is based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), deep learning and transfer learning technology. “The prototype that we have now can predict the inhibition of drugs against HIV integrase and MDM2 protein,” he said.
Professor Patrick Then Hang Hui, Head of School for the School of Information and Communication Technologies informed that the students’ submission featured an AI solution that will use graph convolutional networks to determine the effectiveness of drugs, particularly drugs that inhibit HIV integrase. “This submission showcases the great potential that AI have in predicting the inhibiting potential of drugs on diseases, which can then reduce costs and time in developing these drugs,” he added.
An annual competition organized by one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, the competition is in its fifth year and invited participants to pitch ideas in response to the question “How digital will Bayer be in 2032?” Participants were asked the question on how machine learning can be used to predict the spread of infection more accurately, how data science can help in the fight against a virus and how digital solutions can help improve health.
Swinburne’s team faced tough competition during the finals as they pitted against a team from the USA and two other teams from France. For their winning digital solutions pitch, the students have won themselves a trip to Berlin where they will be able to visit Bayer’s LifeHub, one of the pharmaceutical’s global innovation hotspots that promote collaboration with startups and external partners in research and development.
This latest achievement by our students aligns with Swinburne’s Horizon 2025, the university’s strategic plan to achieve its mission as the prototype of global best practice in student education where students are trained to be future-ready and be able to offer technology solutions to real-world problems. And in line with the growing market of IT-related jobs of the future, Swinburne Sarawak offers a three-year Bachelor of Computer Science programme with majors in software development, cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT), data science, and AI, while the three-year Bachelor of Information and Communication Technology programme focuses on computer and network configurations, web and application programming, and database design and maintenance. Both programmes are accredited at the professional level by the Australian Computer Society (ACS).
Swinburne also offers the Master of Information Technology that provides students with the opportunity to apply their skills through industry-related project work, including industry-linked projects for real clients. Complementing these programmes are state-of-the-art facilities and laboratories including the cybersecurity, AI and IoT laboratories at Swinburne.
For more information about Swinburne Sarawak, visit its website www.swinburne.edu.my, Facebook page (@swinburnesarawak), Instagram (@swinburnesarawak), Twitter page (@Swinburne_Swk) or YouTube channel (Swinburne Sarawak).