Apple rewards 19-year-old Indian student Palash Taneja for making Covid-19 tool2 min read . Updated: 18 Jun 2020, 10:29 PM IST
- Taneja designed a Swift playground that teaches coding while simulating how a pandemic moves through a population
- He has just finished his freshman year at the University of Texas at Austin
Apple's annual World Wide Developer's Conference is scheduled to be held on 22 June, 2020. Unlike all previous conferences, this time the WWDC will take place virtually owing to the outbreak of novel coronavirus outbreak in the world.
The event will witness a global community of 23 million developers who will have the opportunity to join from around the world for free through the Apple Developer app and the Apple Developer website.
Among these, there will also be 350 students who are selected from across 41 countries and regions. These students are the winners of the Swift Student Challenge.
Of these students, the Cupertino-based tech giant selected Palash Taneja, a 19-year-old student for its WWDC 2020 Swift Student Challenge award from India. Apple’s WWDC Swift Student Challenge is for the next-gen coders and creators and helps pick some of the best ideas that can “shape the future".
Taneja has just finished his freshman year at the University of Texas at Austin. After contracting severe case of dengue fever four years ago, the 19-year-old student said, "That whole experience of two to three months of suffering — I think that really inspired me to learn programming and to use it as a problem-solving tool."
He then went on to create a web-based tool that uses machine learning to predict how mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever would spread. And for his Swift Student Challenge submission this year, created against the backdrop of Covid-19, Taneja designed a Swift playground that teaches coding while simulating how a pandemic moves through a population, showing how precautions such as social distancing and masks can help slow infection rates.
Taneja also added that he created the tool "to help educate young people", after he saw others not taking warnings seriously.
Taneja is also passionate about education. When in India, he volunteers to teach English and Maths to underprivileged students whose families cannot afford to pay for tuition. Before he left to study in the US, he created a program that translates popular online education videos into roughly 40 languages, so that children who don’t have physical access to quality education can learn online.
The other winners of the WWDC Swift Student Challenge include 19-year-old Sofia Ongele and 18-year-old Devin Green.
Ongele has created ReDawn, an app that helps survivors of sexual assault access resources in a safe, easy and sensitive way while Green's winning playground features an artificial-intelligence robot named Stanny that can recognize and respond to 63 different comments and questions.