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CMU Hosts Gulf Meeting to Seed Arabic Language Tech

Information technology researchers and executives from around the Middle East convened in Qatar recently to participate in an "Arabic Search Engine Workshop" hosted by Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMUQ).

The meeting had mostly a business focus: to identify ways the small but wealthy kingdom of Qatar could become a research and commercial hub for Arabic language technologies, according to a report in Gulf Times.

"The workshop investigated the possibility of creating an Arabic Language Technologies Centre in Qatar and, more specifically, developing a high-quality Arabic Web search engine," said Jaime Carbonell, a CMU professor of computer science and director of its  Language Technologies Institute.

CMU wants to team with academic and business groups in the area to develop regional expertise in language technology, Carbonell said. CMU faculty and students would provide scientific and technological support for Web search and Arabic/English machine translation.

Organizations that participated in the workshop included CMU, Qatar University, ictQatar, iHorizons, Microsoft Egypt, Qatar Foundation, Qatar National Research Fund, Qatar Science & Technology Park and Qatar Capital Partners.

"Longer term objectives in the collaboration include developing language technologies expertise in Qatar and joint research on improved methods for search and translation, especially focused on the unique characteristics of the Arabic language and Arabic users," Carbonell added.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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