PPKS Hosts IBM Coding Workshop for Students of SMK DPHA Gapor Stampin
Hands-on Experience for Students in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Technologies, Designing and Building Chatbots

Article by Stanley Gona

Senior Manager, Corporate Services, PPKS

Recently Pusat Pembangunan Kemahiran Sarawak (PPKS) hosted the IBM Coding Workshop for sixty-six (66) students from SMK Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Gapor Stampin, Kuching.

Held at the International College of Advanced Technology Sarawak (i-CATS), a subsidiary of PPKS, the workshop was a joint initiative between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research, Sarawak (MESTR), IBM and PPKS. 15 IBM volunteers from 10 countries, with the assistance of 31 PPKS/i-CATS staff members and interns facilitated the coding workshop.

Aptly titled ‘SkillsBuild: Watson Maker Workshop’, the main objective of the 3-hour workshop was to introduce students to chatbots and show how human-computer conversation services work. In a nutshell, a chatbot is a computer programme designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.

During the workshop, the students learned about artificial intelligence, machine learning technologies and were introduced to the key concepts related to designing and building an empathetic chatbot. For the students, a major highlight of the workshop was the hands-on approach, as they worked on designing and programming chatbots to contribute towards the betterment of society.

Sharing his thoughts on the workshop, Mr. Hallman bin Sabri, PPKS Executive Director highlighted, “On behalf of the PPKS Group of Institutions, I wish to express my thanks to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research, Sarawak and IBM for co-organizing this workshop. We live in an age characterized by breathtaking advances in technology and an ever-evolving economic landscape. It is therefore important for all of us to prepare the youth for a world filled with exciting opportunities. Indeed, this workshop is in line with the ongoing initiative by the State Government to reach out to the community and promote the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.”

The IBM volunteers (IBMers) are in Kuching as part of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps Programme. They are attached to various organizations in Kuching, including PPKS. Since its launch in 2008, IBM’s Corporate Service Corps (CSC) programme has contributed over 3,000 participants on over 275 teams to nearly 40 countries around the world, delivering over USD 70 million in market value consulting on over 1000 projects.

For more information on the programmes offered by Pusat Pembangunan Kemahiran Sarawak (PPKS), call 082-364198/362475. Information can also be obtained from PPKS’s website: www.ppks.edu.my.

Mr. Hallman bin Sabri, PPKS Executive Director during a meetup with the IBM Volunteers.

An engaging session between IBM volunteers and students from SMK Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Gapor Stampin, Kuching.

Students and Teacher group photo of SMK Datuk Patinggi Haji Abdul Gapor Stampin with the Volunteers.