The UAE has set up an artificial intelligence university, claimed to be the first in the world, in Abu Dhabi. The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) was inaugurated on October 17 and it offers courses for undergraduate students. It is also accepting applications for its first masters and PhD programmes this month, with classes scheduled to begin on September 20 next year. All admitted students will be given full scholarship plus benefits such as a monthly allowance, health insurance and accommodation. “AI is already changing the world, but we can achieve so much more if we allow the limitless imagination of the human mind to fully explore it. The university will bring the discipline of AI into the forefront, moulding and empowering creative pioneers who can lead us to a new AI-empowered era,” said Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State, who has been appointed Chair of the MBZUAI Board of Trustees and is spearheading the university’s establishment.
The university has been set up with an aim of introducing a new model of academia and research to the field of artificial intelligence, providing students and faculty access to some of the world’s most advanced systems to unleash its potential for economic and societal development, he said. The varsity’s board of trustees is a global pool of experts including Michael Brady, professor of oncological imaging at the University of Oxford; Anil K Jain, distinguished professor at Michigan State University; Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, Dean of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences at Tsinghua University, Beijing; Daniela Rus, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).
“The invention of electricity, the railroad, and smartphones all transformed the world as we knew it. AI can lead to an ever greater societal and economic transformation, but first we must ensure we have the right infrastructure, talents and academic institutions,” Jaber said. The university will offer Master of Science (MSc) and PhD level programs in key areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision and natural language processing while also engaging policymakers and businesses around the world so that AI is harnessed responsibly as a force for positive transformation. MBZUAI has partnered with the Abu Dhabi-based Inception Institute of Artificial Intelligence (IIAI), for the supervision of PhD students and curriculum development.