Korea University graduate wins gold medal at global AI tech contest

Sohn Ho-yeol, a graduate of Korea University, won the gold medal in a recent Kaggle contest, in which some 1,400 artificial intelligence (AI) developers and teams from around the world competed for three months.

Sohn Ho-yeol / Courtesy of Korea University
Sohn Ho-yeol / Courtesy of Korea University

Kaggle, hosted by Google, is the world’s largest data science community, where global developers engage in open competition to suggest solutions to tasks assigned by global companies. It is sometimes dubbed as the world’s AI Olympics or AI UFC, according to Korea University, Thursday.

Sohn, who graduated from the university last February, took the first place with his development of an education model that would enable hearing-impaired children to learn sign language through a game.

Sohn received $50,000 in prize money and earned the accumulated ranking of No. 20 among 200,000 participants who have participated in Kaggle contests so far. Among Koreans, he is ranked at the top.

Sohn became interested in AI and in participating in Kaggle while taking deep learning and AI classes at the university in 2021.

So far, he has received two gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal in Kaggle, entering the master tier.

Kaggle has five tiers categorizing participants based on the results of contests ― grand master, master, expert, contributor and novice.

Global firms engage in a fierce competition to recruit those in the grand master tier of Kaggle.

“I felt so much pressure as I had to solve everything on my own,” Sohn said. “I will continue to participate in Kaggle contests to earn the grand master title. I want to develop AI and deep learning models that can be applied to people’s daily lives in the future.”


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