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Number of scientists at QCRI to increase five times by 2015.

JOSEPH VARGHESE DOHA THE Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) gave a presentation of the organisation's computing research activities during the seventh World Conference of Science Journalists 2011 held at the Education City of Qatar Foundation on Tuesday.

Bradley Steffens, director of communications at the QCRI, said the number of scientists at the QCRI will go up from the present 21 to 110 by 2015.

The QCRI has already filed one patent application and another three are being prepared.

Talking about the developments at the QCRI, Steffens said, "The QCRI aims to make Qatar a global centre for computing research.

It wants to become a leader in key areas which are vital to the growth of the country." Steffens said there are five areas of research at the QCRI.

"The five sections are Arabic language technologies, social technologies, scientific computing, data analytics and cloud computing.

The collaborative outcomes of the research are publications, software prototypes, patents and students and trainees," he said.

Steffens also said that applied computing is at the core of scientific research in many of the disciplines and computing is vital to the success of the country's researches.

The QCRI is interacting with universities and media organisations to execute its projects as well as with other organisations such as the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) for the commercialisation of the findings.

It is in talks with firms like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo for joint projects and licensing.

Ihab Ilyas, a principal research scientist at the QCRI, described some of the challenges of data analytics.

"The big challenges related to data are its extraction, integration and quality.

Data quality is important in enhancing the usability of the acquired data and increasing the confidence of analytic results," he said.

Ilyas also said that in the last one month, the QCRI has been able to build a team of world class researchers in the field of data management.

Simon Ponsford, a senior scientist at the QCRI, also gave a brief description of the organisation's cloud computing activities.

Sihem Amer Yahia, a principal research scientist of the social computing section at the QCRI, discussed the challenges and opportunities of social computing.

She said that social computing is the "science of gathering, storing and processing social breadcrumbs left by millions of users, in order to enhance their online experience".

She said, "The QCRI aims to find reliable, relevant and diverse social content." "It plans to enable exploration of effective social content as well as engage users to increase regional content generation.

It plans to contextualise the content for better exploration without looking into the language and location of the users," Yahia said.

She said a MoU has been signed with Al Jazeera for exclusive access to its data.

The QCRI is looking forward to improve local media businesses and Arabic social networking as well as aims to globally recognise through high quality research.

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Publication:Qatar Tribune (Doha, Qatar)
Date:Jun 29, 2011
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