Tech could someday let people even in dry climates
get clean water straight from the atmosphere›››
For the United Arab Emirates to continue to be the leader in its region and beyond in information and communications technology, it needs to invest in advanced intelligence ICT, next-generation networks (NGN) and NGN-enabled ICT applications and services.
This is why Khalifa University, with partners e& and BT Plc, created the Emirates ICT Innovation Center (EBTIC), supported by the Telecommunication & Digital Government Authority’s (TDRA) ICT Fund.
Nawaf Almoosa is an EECS faculty member at Khalifa University with a joint appointment as the director of the Emirates ICT Innovate Center (EBTIC). His research interests include high-performance heterogeneous computing and distributed optimization and control with applications to computing, telecommunication and robotic systems.
EBTIC aims to be an international center of excellence for applied artificial intelligence and intelligent ICT systems research and innovation, driven by strong industry-academia and government partnership promoting world-class research, technology transfer, research training and open innovation in areas of strategic importance for its founding partners and the UAE.
BENEFITS TO THE COMMUNITY
EBTIC collaborates with its partners and other UAE government entities, delivering more than 40 strategically important projects each year. EBTIC has strong capabilities in machine learning, optimization, natural language processing, cooperative intelligence and big data analytics, as well as network architectures and cybersecurity.
Much of what it delivers drives new revenue or cost-savings opportunities for its partners. For instance, more recent leading-edge projects provide intelligent building solutions, such as machinery-fault prediction, smart-metering analytics and Wi-Fi sensing. Also, power-usage forecasting and optimization helps companies significantly reduce their energy requirements, reducing costs and their carbon footprints.
Recently, EBTIC has been working closely with the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) to predict food-import levels and forecast local food-production quantities. This work helps give ADAFSA a clear understanding of food supply in and out of the UAE and helps them maintain a robust and safe food market.
EYES ON COMMERCE
EBTIC also aims to commercially exploit the most promising of its research projects by looking to spin out start-ups into the UAE and global economy. Among projects in development is 10Folds.
10Folds will be the region’s first machine-learning data-labeling solution provider for the Arabic market.
There is no Arabic-language labeling solution that considers the different dialects in the marketplace, creating a real problem for the development of AI solutions in the region.
To train a machine learning-based model to correctly identify Arabic requires humans to examine data and manually assign labels for the model to learn from. Arabic words take different meanings based on the dialect. With data tagging completed by Arabic speakers, 10Folds aims to guarantee quality assurance of tagging, leading to a more accurate machine-learning model being trained.
RESPONSE TO COVID
EBTIC leveraged its capabilities in machine learning to support the response to the COVID pandemic through the development of COVID spread models driven by digital infrastructure data, and applying accurate multilingual text analytics and natural language processing (NLP) techniques to social media to gauge the public discussion and sentiment about the ensuing pandemic.
Recently honored as the UAEs most inventive center at the Department of Economic Development’s Abu Dhabi Awards for Intellectual Property, EBTIC has more than 80 inventions patented or being filed, and 64 patents already granted. One major facet of EBTIC’s continued success is in its knowledge-transfer ambitions. EBTIC has so far trained more than 400 UAE students, including supervising 50 Ph.D. or Master of Science students, and trained over 300 UAE-based professionals in big data-related competencies.
This mix of achieving scientific excellence; tackling national and societal challenges; and building core AI skills in the UAE is central to EBTIC’s mission, and there is much more to come from our collaboration with industry, universities and governmental organizations that will further help the UAE cement its place as an ICT leader in the global economy.