Skills in AI and machine learning are among the top five most in-demand digital skills needed by employers.
AWS and Intel have announced the winners of the DeepRacer Student League—2022, a competition designed to provide a fundamental understanding of machine learning to students. This competition—conducted with support from the Ministry of Education and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)—saw participants use machine learning to program a model race car on a virtual miniature track using AWS DeepRacer, an integrated learning system. Using reinforcement learning, the cars learn to navigate their way around the track through trial and error, and get ‘rewarded’ whenever they navigate a section of the track in an optimal way.
Preparing students for the workforce of the future
The AWS DeepRacer Student League 2022 competition is a key initiative in line with the Government of India’s emphasis on introducing machine learning in college and school curriculum to prepare students for the workforce of the future. More than 2000 students across India submitted entries to participate in the preliminary round of the competition. The top 100 racers in the preliminary round participated in the semi-finale, and the top 10 from this round participated in the grand finale conducted on September 1.
Prudhviraju Chekuri from Gayatri Vidya Parishad College of Engineering, Andhra Pradesh emerged as the winner of the AWS DeepRacer Student League 2022, with a lap time of just 10.263 seconds. Prudhviraju will gain a direct entry into the AWS Global DeepRacer Student Championship Cup to be held in October 2022 and receive an Amazon.com voucher worth Rs. 1,00,000.
“Before I started racing in the AWS DeepRacer Student League, I didn’t know much about Reinforcement Learning. But I love the concept of self-driving cars. I started participating in the league with a lot of curiosity. AWS DeepRacer is a good start to excel in Reinforcement Learning because of its simplicity. There is a lot more to learn and explore in this field.” Prudhviraju Chekuri, Student, Gayatri Vidya Parishad College of Engineering, Andhra Pradesh.
Yugal Agarwal from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Rajasthan came second, and will receive an Amazon.com voucher worth Rs. 75,000.
“Thanks, AWS team, for providing us with such an amazing opportunity to test our AI skills in a practical way. The opportunity to actually apply it to racing cars was a wonderful experience altogether. From having little to no clue, to making it to the top three has been a marvellous experience for me.” Yugal Agarwal, Student, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Rajasthan
Bhanu Prakash Reddy from JNTUA College of Engineering, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh secured the third place and will receive an Amazon voucher worth Rs. 50,000.
Evaluation for employment
The top 100 semi-finalists will be evaluated for employment by AWS partners— Cloudthat, Searce, Cognizant, and Pentagon System and Services. In addition, the top 2,500 students from underserved or underrepresented communities will be shortlisted for the AWS AI ML Scholarship, presented by AWS, Intel, and Udacity. 2,000 students will get access to educational content, career mentorship and Udacity Nanodegree scholarships.
Prof. Ajay K. Sood, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, said, “The emerging domains of science and technology such as quantum computing, machine learning, and AI present transformational opportunities, so it is critical to equip our young talent with advanced skills in these areas. The AWS DeepRacer Student League India 2022 attempts to expose students to machine learning in a fun manner. Such initiatives positively impact students’ welfare and contribute to our efforts to make India the global talent hub.
Machine learning is one the most disruptive technologies of our time, and building a workforce with this skill is key to leveraging transformational opportunities. In fact, skills in AI and machine learning are among the top five most in-demand digital skills needed by employers in India by 2025, according to a report commissioned by AWS and prepared by strategic consulting firm AlphaBeta, titled “Building Digital Skills for the Changing Workforce.” Deeper industry-government-academia collaboration efforts are needed to meet these growing digital learning needs.
Sunil PP, Lead—Education, Space, and Nonprofits, Amazon Internet Services Private Limited, AWS India and South Asia, said, “We are committed to bridging the digital skills gap in India. The increasingly enthusiastic response from students and academicians across states for industry-government-academia initiatives like the AWS DeepRacer Student League is exciting, especially the interest from students to gain a practical understanding of key technologies like cloud and machine learning. We are also thrilled to see the support of our partners to reward students with scholarships and opportunities to be evaluated for employment.”
Akanksha Balani, Regional Alliance Head, AWS, APAC & Japan, Intel, said, “It was an absolute pleasure to have witnessed and participated in the AWS DeepRacer Student League in India, and we are very excited about the innovations and thinking this applied knowledge-based experience will help us witness. This is a program that truly shows the power of partnerships activating change through joint technology, and AWS continues to bend the curve on what is possible.”