New research project aims to advance UAE’s leadership in Artificial Intelligence

October 17, 2020

In support of the UAE taking the lead in Artificial Intelligence, AI, Sandooq Al Watan has announced today that they have signed a sponsored research agreement in collaboration with United Arab Emirates University, UAEU, and Khalifa University, KU, to advance cognitive computing using novel architecture and high-grade materials.

The project was awarded under the SWARD programme, which aims to create tangible social and economic outcomes in the country by bridging the gap between academia and industry.

Titled, “Doped Phase Change Material Nanowires for Memory Applications,” the project, which has a budget of AED1 million, will explore the potential of developing new materials to progress Artificial Intelligence, AI, processing and in-memory applications in the area of “non-von Neumann architecture”.

Discussing the nature of the project, Ahmed Fikri, Acting Director-General of Sandooq Al Watan, said, “with researchers reporting the first-ever in-memory computing, we see the future of cognitive computing in synchronised processing and memory functions. This in-memory computing relies on nano-resistive memory devices made from specific materials, with ‘Germanium Telluride’, GeTe, being one of the most viable. This project has been established to explore the potential for scalability of this material into nanowires to create substantive leaps in AI capacity.”

He added, “Researchers from UAEU and KU are at the forefront and we anticipate that this project will see major strides being made in harmonising processing and memory in AI, furthering the position of the UAE in this rapidly evolving sphere.”

Prof. Ahmed Murad, Associate Provost for Research from UAEU, emphasised the leading role of the University in conducting high-quality research to support the national agenda. He added that this project with Sandooq Al Watan and KU comes in line with UAEU’s plan to develop the collaboration with other organisations to carry out joint research, especially in the field of AI, which represents a vibrant area of research at the university and a reliable fundamental pillar for the development of scientific research.”

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said, “We are delighted to be part of this project that will fabricate devices using nanowires and investigate their electrical performance. Faculty experts at KU’s research centres have the capability and expertise to deliver not only integrated system-on-chip, SoC, solutions but also other advanced technology innovations in intelligent systems, robotics, and machine learning to drive innovation.”

The project will be led by Principal Investigators Dr. Haila M. Aldosari, Assistant Professor, Physics, at UAE University and Dr. Baker Mohammad, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering at Khalifa University.

The aim of this latest SWARD project is the optimisation of material, device, and architecture to enable in-memory computing for Internet of Things devices and AI applications. The project will also investigate the functionality of GeTe material using diameters of 10 nanometres or less – tolerances that have never been achieved before.

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