ZU Hosts the 11th International URC Conference

17 Apr 2019

Under the patronage of H.E Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, President of Zayed University, the 11th Annual Conference on Undergraduate Research on Applied Computing (URC2019) was held yesterday (April 17, 2019) at Zayed University.

The objective of the conference is to promote undergraduate research activity at educational institutions across the Arab world, by providing a forum for undergraduate students to present their research projects, share ideas and interact with other young researchers, faculty members and technology leaders from the region.

Themed ‘Artificial Intelligence and the Future,’ which is one of the key innovation areas that is highlighted by the UAE Higher Policy on Science, Technology, and Innovation, and the Advanced Science strategy. “The College of Technological Innovation (CTI) and the partnering organizations at this conference, namely The Ministry of Infrastructure Development, and the IEEE-UAE Section, and the ZU Research Office, have been at the forefront by organizing this conference over a decade ago,” said Prof. Reyadh Al Mehaideb, Vice-President of Zayed University.

“When computers started being utilized in businesses in the 1980s some people were concerned that they might replace their jobs. However, the emphasis was always on enhancing productivity, so today computers, smartphones, and devices are widely accepted as complementing our way of life and contributing to progress. Today, some people feel that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics may replace them. Moreover, while some repetitive tasks look certain to disappear, we should also be optimistic that (AI) should complement human intelligence to help communities and the global workforce reach a fuller potential in ways we cannot yet fully comprehend but would certainly free communities to carry out more engaged and human services related tasks. In other words, we can also look forward to a better quality of life.”

Dr. Hany El Kadi, Dean of the College of Tech Innovation at ZU, pointed that the participation this year has received over 161 undergraduate research projects that represent 593 authors, who are primarily undergraduate students and their faculty advisors. They came from 18 educational institutions in 6 countries, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
“Artificial intelligence and the future, a theme that was aligned with the UAE vision 2021, which aims to make the UAE amongst the best countries in the world. Ambitious nations like the UAE, do not achieve their goals by relying on past achievements, and more vigilant in examining trends and challenges.”

On behalf of Ohoud Shehail, Director General of the Ajman Digital Government, Wejdan Eissa Alhajaj, Director of Strategy & PMO, at ADG, said that “The future will be for the (AI) according to its contribution into all fields, namely education, industrial, services and even medical. The UAE has realized its importance, as it launched back 2013 the initiation of the smart government, and had established the first complete smart silicon park in 2014. The UAE has also designated the world’s first ever Artificial Intelligence Ministry and establishing the Emirates Council for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transactions.”

“Today we are all responsible for fulfilling the artificial intelligence objectives and plans, and it starts by educating our youth, whom we are trying our best to guide them to learn more about AI and probable future outcomes. As some researchers suggest that by 2020 over 20 percent of citizens in developed nations will use (AI) associates to assist them with daily tasks. Another suggests that by 2020 (AI) will become a positive net job creator, creating 2.3 million jobs while eliminating 1.8 million. Moreover, others also said, that by 2022, around 40 percent of the customer-facing employees and government workers will consult daily artificial intelligence for decision and support process.”

The conference included some research projects presented by participating students during the held panel discussions. The event concludes today, April 18, 2019, with awards handed to the top three achievers with best research studies presented.

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