Inside Dubai's Global Prompt Engineering Championship

Focusing on coding, literature and art, the competition paves the way for advancements in the digital economy

The first of the two-day Global Prompt Engineering Championship focused on selecting nine from the top 30 prompt engineering programmers to participate in the final phase on Tuesday. Photo: Dubai Future Foundation
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A Dubai competition focused on developing skills in artificial intelligence technology is under way, with Dh1 million ($272,290) in prize money on offer for participants from around the world.

The Global Prompt Engineering Championship has been organised by the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) and Dubai's Centre for Artificial Intelligence.

In AI, a prompt refers to a specific request made to a language model such as ChatGPT, which can provide a response or solution to a user.

DFF deputy chief executive Abdulaziz Al Jaziri spoke to The National at the competition and described prompt engineering as the next phase in acquiring new skills in the tech sector.

"We recognised AI as a technology that can revolutionise lives, enabling individuals to develop new skills and discover new roles and opportunities. Prompt engineering is now emerging as a crucial new skill set in this context," he said.

The selection process

The first of the two-day conference focused on selecting nine from the top 30 prompt engineering programmers to participate in the final phase on Tuesday at the Museum of the Future.

The selection process involves a rigorous evaluation of the participants' skills and understanding of prompt engineering. The programmers will then be divided into five groups, each competing in literature, art, and coding.

Mr Al Jaziri explained the championship's inclusive approach, addressing why it includes categories beyond coding.

"We realised that coding is for a subset of society. Literature appeals to a wider society and art to an even bigger set. We want everyone to feel included in this skill set, and this is a skill that we believe everyone should get and learn," he said.

The nine competitors will be announced in the auditorium Tuesday morning, and only three, one from each category, will receive prize money totaling Dh1 million ($272,290).

Inclusivity beyond age limits

What stood out to Mr Al Jaziri was the diversity of the participants. "There were initially thousands of entries from over 100 countries, and in terms of age groups, we have a 13-year-old to a 60-year-old," he said.

The youngest participant in the literature category, Zara Hasnain from the UK, found out about the championship online and registered independently. A self-proclaimed enthusiast of both AI and literature, she found the competition's unique blend of disciplines irresistible.

"I was interested in AI and liked linking it with other things like literature. So I thought it would be a great opportunity to participate in this competition," she told The National.

Although the competition has an age limit of 18, an exception was made for the 13-year-old prodigy due to her exceptional skills at such a young age.

"I was surprised, to be honest, because I thought more people my age would participate. There was no age limit online, so I assumed it was for everyone," she said.

Judging AI mastery

A specialised committee evaluates the completed projects and looks for speed, quality, and accuracy.

Abdelrahman Al Mahmoud, one of the judges and the Head of Research and Infrastructure in the Artificial Intelligence Office at the Prime Minister's Office, emphasised the importance of mastery of AI systems.

He noted that judges focus on how well participants can control and direct AI tools.

"We are looking at their mastery of the tool: how they can make the system do what they want, rather than simply accepting whatever output the system gives them," he told The National.

Major global technology companies, including Microsoft, Google, and IBM, participated in the event with the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy as its strategic partner.

As the first day unfolds, excitement and anticipation fill the air. Participants are eager to showcase their skills and creativity, hoping to qualify for the finals.

The GPEC, with its unique focus on prompt engineering and its inclusive approach encompassing literature, art, and coding, is set to be an inspirational event, paving the way for future advancements in the digital economy.

Updated: May 20, 2024, 2:26 PM