The first Artificial Intelligence (AI) focused university has been established in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It will be a graduate-level university with a heavy focus on research, and it is called Mohammed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI).
According to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, “Launching the world’s first graduate-level AI university in Abu Dhabi echoes the UAE’s pioneering spirit, and paves the way for a new era of innovation and technological advancement that benefits the UAE and the world.”
The establishment of MBZUAI was announced at a press conference at the campus of the university, located in a suburb of the capital called Masdar City.
“The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) is an open invitation from Abu Dhabi to the world to unleash AI’s full potential,” UAE’s Minister of State Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said.
State Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber was appointed to be chair of the board of trustees at the university.
New Era of Technological Advancement
The university will have some of the best facilities and equipment related to AI. There will be both masters programs lasting two years as well as PhD ones lasting four years. The university will accept both local and international graduate students, and there will be three main specialty fields including machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing.
Official applications for acceptance into the university will start this month, and registrations will happen next August. The first classes are set to officially begin in September 2020.
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber spoke at the official press conference opening.
“The world has entered a new era of technological advancement and rapid innovation, all driven and underpinned by AI. This new era will pave the way for unprecedented opportunities, AI has become a priority and evident across all industries with new technologies being introduced at an incredibly fast pace,” he said.
“The world needs more human capacity in the field of AI to bridge any possible gaps and that is why today the UAE and Abu Dhabi is announcing the launch of Mohammad Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence – the world’s first graduate level research-based AI university,” he added.
“This university will help us to develop the necessary AI eco system that will enable us to leverage the full potential of this very important technology locally, regionally and globally. The university will create an active AI community in the UAE developing innovative applications for businesses and government,” he said.
A Team With Extensive Background in AI
The university is joined by Sir Michael Brady, who is the interim president and a member of the board of trustees. He has an extensive background in Artificial Intelligence, robotics, and imagery. He has spoken about the university and said that it was part of a move towards a knowledge-based economy, something that is taking place within the UAE.
“This began with the government of the UAE formulating the strategy to transform the economy to the post oil era… To invest in developing competence in renewable energy, financial services, healthcare, materials technology and others,” he said.
“[One of the main] enabling technologies is AI, and then you ask what are the risks in realising that [vision]… and the answer Is people…[So] how are we going to produce the right number of people with the right mindset [and] the right knowledge in order to lead and provide the technical leadership in these areas. That is what this university is about – providing that person power over the next 5 to 10 to 20 years,” he added.
The establishment of the first ever university dedicated to Artificial Intelligence is a huge step forward in the field. It will likely cause more to open, and it will further dedicate resources and people to the most important development in modern history.
Some Essential Books About AI Are Available Online for Free
Specialized publication KDNuggets has come up with a list of 10 Free online books about AI that it considers as essential reading. This is a fourth such list the publication has compiled, and the previous lists for 2017, 2018, and earlier in 2019 are also available. Here is a brief description of five titles in their current list, that represent an insight into more general elements and knowledge about AI.
by Ian Goodfellow, Yoshua Bengio, and Aaron Courville (November 2016, 800 pages).
As the title suggests, the book concentrates on deep learning and should be very useful for all who “are working on mastering deep learning with comprehensive mathematical and conceptual coverage of Monte Carlo methods, recurrent and recursive nets, autoencoders, and deep generative models.”
The Quest for Artificial Intelligence: A History of Ideas and Achievements
by Nils J. Nilsson (October 2009, 707 pages).
Possibly this book represents “the definitive history of a field that has captivated the imaginations of scientists, philosophers, and writers for centuries,” and its achievements so far. It traces the history of AI from the early dreams of eighteenth-century (and earlier) pioneers to the more successful work of today’s AI engineers. “The book’s many diagrams and easy-to-understand descriptions of AI programs you gain an understanding of how these and other AI systems work.”
A Brief Introduction to Neural Networks
by David Kriesel, manuscript (2007, 244 pages)
Self-published by the author the book provides “a comprehensive resource on the topic that is crucial foundational knowledge for AI research and investigation.” AS KDNuggets explains, “neural networks are bio-inspired mechanisms for data processing that enable computers to learn in a way that is technically similar to a biological brain. These approaches can even generalize once solutions to enough problem instances are taught to the algorithms. “
Ethical Artificial Intelligence
by Bill Hibbard (November 2015, 177 pages).
Essentially a long-form article in a book format, it combines a number of “peer-reviewed papers and material to analyze the issues of ethical artificial intelligence.” Discussing a number of technical implications of AI, it also discusses “how future AI will differ from current AI, the politics of AI, and the ultimate use of AI to help understand the nature of the universe and our place in it.”
The Essential AI Handbook for Leaders
by Peltarion (59 pages)
This brief title is actually a marketing white paper for Peltarion, the company it originated from, but as KDNuggets note, “ it provides an important overview that business leaders should appreciate when leveraging AI.” The book’s intentional is “to help more people understand what AI is and how businesses and organizations can harness the technology,” and also “explains the fundamentals of AI, its potential benefits, and how businesses can make AI operational to create positive change.”
The complete list can be accessed here.
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