Khalifa University of Science and Technology today announced a major foray into building talent and human capital in artificial intelligence, AI, by unveiling three initiatives, the Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems Institute, AI Institute; a Programme in Artificial Intelligence; and the Mohammed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge, MBZIRC, that will be held in February 2020.
Khalifa University has committed a funding outlay of more than AED160 million over a five-year period for projects under the scope of the AI Institute. This is in addition to the AED160 million already committed to the Emirates ICT Innovation Centre, thus making the university’s total spend on AI research projects more than AED320 million.
The AI Institute is Khalifa University’s third institute and will aim to bring all the university’s research in robotics, AI, data science and information and communication technologies under a single umbrella.
With the prize money of US$5 million, the highest in the world, the MBZIRC 2020, one of the world’s largest and most prestigious AI and robotics competitions is scheduled for February 2020. The international biennial challenge will select 34 robotics teams from top universities around the world to compete in Abu Dhabi for a three-day event that will test their innovation, and science and engineering skills.
The Programme in Artificial Intelligence, the first-of-its-kind in the UAE will be available to all undergraduate, graduate and PhD science and engineering students starting from the fall 2019 semester.
The announcements were made during a press conference addressed by Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President; Dr. Ahmed Al Shoaibi, Senior Vice President, Academic and Student Services; Dr Steve Griffiths, Senior Vice President for Research and Development; Dr. Ernesto Damiani, Senior Director, AI Institute; and Dr. Lakmal Seneviratne, Associate Provost of Research & Graduate Studies and Professor of Robotics, as well as other faculty members.
The AI Institute will be headed by Damiani and the institute’s core research centres, already launched in 2018, are the Khalifa University Centre for Autonomous Robotic Systems and the Khalifa University Centre for Cyber-Physical Systems. Also under the institute’s umbrella are the Khalifa University-Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology Joint Research Centre, the System-on-Chip Centre and the Healthcare Engineering Innovation Centre. The EBTIC, which includes Etisalat, ICT Fund and British Telecom as partners will also be central to the institute’s research and development capabilities.
Al Hammadi said, "This is the first institute in the UAE focused on AI applications and will train government and industries in AI science and applications. It will also conduct state-of-the-art research that will benefit the government and industry sectors. As new intelligent system capabilities such as AI and machine learning gather steam, Khalifa University will be at the forefront of developing new innovations from these platforms."