Qatar Computing Research Institute starts operations

August 18, 2010
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The Qatar Computing Research Institute is now up and running, and is recruiting researchers, an official from the Qatar Foundation said.

The institute, an initiative by QF’s Research Division and one of three research hubs that will form the Qatar Research Institute (QRI), will be looking to “shake computer science” using Arab scientists from labs around the world, said Dr Ahmed Elmagarmid, QCRI director.

“This is a new concept for us. We are not funding or sponsoring external research, we are creating the labs and doing the research in-house,” said Elmagarmid, quoted by local media.

The institute will focus on core computing research, which revolves around developing Arabic language technologies, Internet computing, data mining, and computer enabled scientific discovery.

“Computers are pervasive in our offices and homes, and for some people, they are their work spaces,” he said. “Now is the time not only to use computers for analysis, but to make the computer a part of the scientific experiment itself.”

QCRI is opening its doors to scientists from around the world, but some of the researchers hired will be part of the Arab Expat Scientists Database, inspired by Shaikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned.

“I was one of the scientists who came here when Shaikha Mozah began her effort to communicate with Arab expat scientists in 2005. We started working on this database in 2007, and now have about 5,000 records in it. We expect to eventually have 10, 000,” Elmagarmid said.

The initial research scope of QCRI had been proposed and refined through the Qatari Arab Joint Committee (QAJC), made up of four Arab expat scientists and four Qataris.

Before joining Qatar Foundation, Elmagarmid was director of both the Indiana Center for Database Systems – the largest academic center for database research in North America – and the Cyber Center at Purdue University’s Discovery Park.

He was also a professor of Computer Science at Purdue, where he was involved in teaching and research for the last 22 years.

QCRI is one of three research institutes, two of which will launch later this year: the Qatar Energy and Environment Research Institute, and the Qatar Biomedical Research Institute.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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