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Wed 16 Oct 2019 04:28 PM

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Abu Dhabi launches world's first university of artificial intelligence

Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence will welcome first students in September 2020

Abu Dhabi launches world's first university of artificial intelligence
MBZUAI will enable graduate students, businesses, and governments to advance artificial intelligence.

Abu Dhabi on Wednesday announced the establishment of the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), the first graduate level, research-based AI university in the world.

MBZUAI will enable graduate students, businesses, and governments to advance artificial intelligence, a statement said.

The University is named after Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, who has long advocated for the UAE’s development of human capital through knowledge and scientific thinking to take the nation into the future, it added.

MBZUAI will provide all admitted students with a full scholarship, plus benefits such as a monthly allowance, health insurance, and accommodation. The university will also work with leading local and global companies to secure internships, and will also assist students in finding employment opportunities.

The first class of graduate students will commence coursework at MBZUAI’s Masdar City campus in September 2020.

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MBZUAI will introduce a new model of academia and research to the field of AI, providing students and faculty access to some of the world’s most advanced AI systems to unleash its potential for economic and societal development.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, who has been appointed chair of the MBZUAI board of trustees and is spearheading the establishment of the University, said: “Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence aligns with the vision of the UAE leadership that is based on sustainable development, progress and the overall well-being of humanity and underpinned by capacity-building and active participation in finding practical solutions based on innovation and state-of-the-art technology.

"As such, the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence is an open invitation from Abu Dhabi to the world to unleash AI’s full potential.

“AI is already changing the world, but we can achieve so much more if we allow the limitless imagination of the human mind to fully explore it,” he added. “The university will bring the discipline of AI into the forefront, molding and empowering creative pioneers who can lead us to a new AI empowered era.”

Experts from around the world have been selected for the university’s board of trustees. They include MBZUAI interim president, Professor Sir Michael Brady, professor of Oncological Imaging at the University of Oxford in the UK; Professor Anil K Jain, a University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University, US; Professor Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, Dean of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China; Dr Kai-Fu Lee, a technology executive and venture capitalist based in Beijing, China; Professor Daniela Rus, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), US, and Peng Xiao, CEO of Group 42.

The trustees will be supported by an advisory board, chaired by Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence.

The announcement comes as AI is set to have a transformational impact on the global economy, with experts estimating that, by 2030, AI could contribute nearly $16 trillion. Experts now estimate that, by 2030, AI’s contribution to the UAE’s GDP will rise to nearly 14 percent – the largest GDP share in the Middle East.

Al Jaber added: “The launch of the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence is a clear demonstration of the UAE's commitment to encouraging innovation and empowering younger generations in the UAE and around the world.”

The university will offer Master of Science (MSc) and PhD level programs in key areas of AI – Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and Natural Language Processing – while also engaging policymakers and businesses around the world so that AI is harnessed responsibly as a force for positive transformation.

MBZUAI will also bring together experts from the AI community by hosting regional and international conferences, seminars and workshops.

Professor Brady said: “Following decades of research into machine learning and artificial intelligence, we are now at a turning point in the widespread application of advanced intelligence. That evolution is—among other things—creating exciting new career opportunities in nearly every sector of society. At MBZUAI, we will support students to capture those opportunities and to magnify their contribution to the field of AI globally.”

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