QATAR. The Qatar Computing Research Institute is up, running, and recruiting researchers, an official from Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development announced today.
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, the inaugural director of QCRI.
“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 Dr. Elmagarmid.
According to the director, 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 continued. “Now is the time not only to use computers for analysis, but to make the computer a part of the scientific experiment itself.”
While QCRI is opening its doors to scientists from around the world, some of the researchers hired will be part of the Arab Expat Scientists Database, inspired by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned and realized by Dr. Elmagarmid and his team.
“I was one of the scientists that came here when Her Highness 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,” Dr. Elmagarmid added.
The initial research scope of QCRI had been proposed and refined through the Qatari Arab Joint Committee (QAJC) which is made up of four Arab Expat Scientists and four Qataris.
Before joining Qatar Foundation, Dr. 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 actively involved in teaching and research for the last 22 years.
Early in his career in 1988 he received the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Young Investigator award from then President Ronald Reagan. The Ohio State University (1993) and the University of Dayton (1995) have both named him among their distinguished alumni.
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.