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Pioneering Initiative to Extend Arabic Linguistic Research in the Middle East

Published October 12th, 2006 - 02:36 GMT
Al Bawaba
Al Bawaba

A pioneering partnership to further extend Arabic linguistic research in the Middle East being undertaken at the British University in Dubai (BUiD) was announced today.

The new project will be a joint initiative between BUiD’s Institute of Informatics, the first research-based department dedicated to Information Technology in the UAE, and Fast Search & Transfer (FAST), the leading provider of enterprise search solutions.

The one-year pilot research project will examine the feasibility of developing an Arabic search engine capable of scanning text pages and the internet to locate names – a resource which has not as yet been established in the Middle East.

“This is a pioneering collaboration between ourselves and industry leaders in search technology which we trust will be mutually beneficial and lead to long-term collaboration. FAST has developed search technology with linguistic capabilities for 80 languages, Arabic included, however this collaboration will provide further enhancement of advanced linguistic capabilities for Arabic,” said Dr Habib Talhami, Head of the Institute of Informatics, the British University in Dubai.

Dr Talhami, who has previously worked on the indexing of Arabic speech databases using advanced speech recognition technology at BUiD, added: “We are hoping to achieve this capability for enterprises and to advance further research in all aspects of Arabic language technology. This is the beginning of our relationship and we intend to expand into further areas of collaboration in the future.”

FAST, a Norwegian-based global organisation with offices in six continents, works together with leading universities in 28 counties and their products support 80 different languages.

Muneer Mussa, Regional Vice President, FAST, said: “There is a growing need for this new technology and we look forward to this partnership to help extend Arabic linguistic research. We are delighted to be involved with the leading research-based university in the UAE.”

Helping to undertake the project will be BUiD student Hafsa Raza, who has been sponsored by FAST to work as research assistant in the region for the international team.

BUiD’s Institute of Informatics is partnered with the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, one of the UK’s highest rated research centres in computer science and related disciplines.

BUiD’s Institute currently offers an MSc degree in Information Technology with streams in Speech and Natural Language Engineering and in Knowledge and Data Management, and an MSc in IT Management

About British University in Dubai
The British University in Dubai (BUiD) is the Middle East’s first research-based, postgraduate university. The University was established to facilitate access to world-class education, training and research in the Middle East. BUiD aspires to the highest, internationally recognized British standards as reflected in its partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the University of Birmingham, the University of Manchester, Cardiff University and now the Cass Business School at City University, London. Each has a five or five-star rating in the UK national Research Assessment Exercise that signifies research of international standard.
The not-for-profit university offers full and part-time Masters Degree programmes and Continuing Professional Development courses in Information Technology, Project Management, the Built Environment, Finance and Banking, Education and IT Management.

All BUiD’s current Masters Programmes have received Accreditation Eligibility Status from the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research’s Commission for Academic Accreditation. 

The founders of the University are the Al Maktoum Foundation, the Dubai Development and Investment Authority, Rolls-Royce, the British Business Group and the National Bank of Dubai. The University is governed by a Council under the chairmanship of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. The Emirates Group, DUCAB, Atkins, Dubai Duty Free, Hyder Consulting, the Emirates Foundation and DUGAS are supporters of the university through financial contributions or the provision of scholarships.

About FAST

FAST is the leading developer of enterprise search technologies and solutions that are behind the scenes at the world’s best known companies with the most demanding search problems. FAST’s flexible and scalable enterprise search platform (FAST ESP) elevates the search capabilities of enterprise customers and connects people to the relevant information they seek regardless of medium. This drives revenues and reduces total cost of ownership by effectively leveraging IT infrastructure. FAST’s solutions are used by more than 2,600 global customers and partners, including America Online (AOL), Cardinal Health,, Chordiant, CIGNA, CNET, Computer Associates, Dell, EMC Documentum, Factiva, Fidelity Investments, Findexa, IBM, Knight Ridder, LexisNexis, Merrill Lynch, Rakuten, Reed Elsevier, Reuters, Sensis, Stellent, Tenet Healthcare, Thomas Industrial Networks, T-Online, US Army, Virgilio (Telecom Italia), Vodafone, and Wanadoo. For further information about FAST, please visit

For further enquiries call BUiD on +971.4.391.3633.


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