New Khalifa University-backed AI research aims for UAE’s excellence in tech

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Khalifa University
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The national initiative launched by prominent Emirati businessmen, Sandooq Al Watan has signed a sponsored research agreement in collaboration with United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and Khalifa University (KU), in support of the UAE taking the lead in Artificial Intelligence (AI).

This deal aims to advance cognitive computing using novel architecture and high-grade materials.

The project was awarded within the context of the SWARD programme, which aims to produce concrete social and economic results in the country by bridging the gap between academia and industry.

The project titled, “Doped Phase Change Material Nanowires for Memory Applications,” which has a budget of $2,72,242 (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”.

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.”

“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,” he added.

Prof. Ahmed Murad, UAEU Associate Provost for Research, stressed the University’s leading role in the conduct of high-quality research in support of the national agenda. He added that this project with Sandooq Al Watan and KU is in line with the UAEU’s plan to establish joint research collaborations with other organisations, especially in the field of AI, which is a vibrant area of university research and a reliable cornerstone 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.”

Dr. Haila M. Aldosari, Assistant Professor of Physics at UAE University, and Dr. Baker Mohammad, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Khalifa University, will lead the project.

The goal of this latest SWARD project is to optimise the material, device, and architecture for the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and AI applications to allow in-memory computing. The project will also explore GeTe material functionality using diameters of 10 or fewer nanometers, tolerances that have never been achieved before.