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Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed attends Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence 2024 commencement ceremony

Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed attends Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence 2024 commencement ceremony
6 June 2024 15:59

ABU DHABI (ALETIHAD)

His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council,  attended the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence’s (MBZUAI) 2024 commencement ceremony, celebrating 101 graduates.

The cohort included three PhD graduates in Machine Learning (ML) and 98 master’s degree graduates in Computer Vision (CV), Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing (NLP), highlighting the university’s leading position in the higher education landscape and its scientific research efforts in artificial intelligence (AI).

The graduation also represents a key milestone in the university’s journey towards qualifying UAE talent in AI to identify AI-based solutions that address key global challenges.



His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed congratulated the graduates on their success and honoured a number of the PhD and master’s degrees graduates, wishing them success in their professional journey and their role in helping to further strengthen the UAE’s position as a global destination for AI-based research and innovation by building an integrated ecosystem to harness the potential of AI technologies across all vital sectors, in line with the UAE National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031.

The ceremony was attended by His Excellency Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and the Founding Chairman of MBZUAI's Board of Trustees; Professor Eric Xing, MBZUAI President and University Professor; members of the university faculty; and graduates’ parents.

In his welcome address, His Excellency Al Jaber congratulated the graduating Class of 2024 and told them they have the potential to shape the future of humanity at a tipping point in the development of AI.

“Today, you are not just graduating. You are embarking on a voyage into a world that you have the power to improve, to innovate, and to reimagine. By choosing a career in AI, you have chosen one of the most exciting disciplines in science, and one of the greatest catalysts for human development. In fact, AI is changing the pace of change. And you, the graduating Class of 2024 are the lucky ones to be part of a paradigm shift in human progress. You will not only have a front row seat to history. You have the opportunity to play a primary role in shaping it.”

His Excellency went on to urge them to take advantage of the many opportunities for pursuing their career in the UAE, where the UAE’s visionary leadership is creating a global hub for AI talent and entrepreneurship.

“Before many other countries recognised its potential, government-led policies encouraged the promotion of AI in the UAE. They nurtured the success of companies like G42, and large language models like Falcon. As a result, this small country is creating a world class ecosystem for AI talent and entrepreneurship. We are attracting major investment from tech leaders such as Microsoft and emerging as a significant hub for AI innovation and application.”

Al Jaber noted that AI is transforming every industry, has the potential to make a profound positive impact on energy systems and can help deliver on the goals of the UAE Consensus.

“Your growing expertise will hold the keys to unlocking solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. In fact, if we are to achieve the ambitious goals of the historic UAE Consensus agreed at COP28 in December in Dubai, AI must play a critical role."

"AI’s growth will demand more energy, but AI can also help reduce the emissions from that energy. Through its AI joint venture AIQ, ADNOC has used predictive maintenance and machine learning to reduce carbon emissions by more than a million tonnes in just one year."

"Power operators are using neural networks to make electricity grids more stable and more energy efficient. And AI is transforming other energy intensive sectors like agriculture, minimising water use by as much as 40 per cent. Simply put, AI can make our world smarter, cleaner and more prosperous, and you will be at the epicenter of these advances.”

Among the 101 students who graduated, 58 majored in Machine Learning (ML), 28 in Computer Vision (CV), and 12 in Natural Language Processing (NLP).

The Class of 2024 comprised 22 nationalities with students hailing from countries including Canada, United Kingdom, France, India, Egypt, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, highlighting the university’s commitment to cultivating a diverse and inclusive learning environment that attracts top talent from around the world.

This cohort included the university’s largest Emirati presence with 24 graduates, including 15 female AI changemakers; equipping a new generation of UAE Nationals with the skills and abilities to lead in a world shaped by AI.

The master’s cohort all completed internships at organisations including ADNOC, Abu Dhabi Ports, Etihad Airways, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Statistics Center Abu Dhabi (SCAD), and Insilico Medicine to prepare them to drive AI and transform sectors and industries for the better.

This year’s class joins the university’s growing alumni network of 111 AI leaders who are shaping the evolution of technology and AI across multiple sectors.

Al Jaber noted that the growth of AI is one of three megatrends shaping the future, alongside the accelerating pace of the energy transition and the rise of emerging markets and Global South:
“As you enter the workforce, I am sure that your diversity will have a positive influence on the development of AI. What you do is incredibly important. Where you do it also matters. You can create a unique culture of innovation for the Global South – a Silicon Valley of this region, for this region.”

His Excellency concluded by emphasising the responsibility to apply an ethical approach to the application of AI technologies:
“Remember that ethics and integrity must remain at the forefront of your endeavours. The technologies you create will not only shape industries but also the lives of individuals and the fabric of society. Use this power wisely and ethically. Use your power to improve lives, drive positive innovations, and build bridges between peoples. Continue to follow your passion."

"Don’t settle for the ordinary. Commit yourself to the extraordinary. And take advantage of the opportunities that the UAE offers in AI. I can’t wait to see what you come up with."

More than 80 unique scholarly papers were published by the Class of 2024, with papers accepted at International Conference on Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Intervention (MICCAI), the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) 2022 and 2023, the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP) 2023, International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) 2023 and 2024, European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL) 2023, and AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) 2024, among others.

MBZUAI President and University Professor, Eric Xing, said, “MBZUAI’s Class of 2024 are the future leaders of technology, innovation and creativity. They are equipped to accept the responsibility that comes with the stewardship of something so powerful and transformative."

"They depart us with the knowledge, skills, and a profound understanding of the opportunity before them – the chance to shape a future where AI serves humanity with compassion and unwavering ethical standards – they are ready to tackle the greatest challenges facing our world today. I extend my congratulations to our largest ever cohort celebrating a remarkable academic journey. In their hands, AI becomes a tool for creativity, a catalyst for innovation, and a force for positive change in the world."

Members of the cohort claimed the highest honors at the Arabic Natural Language Processing Conference (Best Paper Award) and at MICCAI, winning HEKTOR 2021 (Head and Neck Tumor segmentation and outcome prediction in PET/CT images), as well as the BioInformatics Hackathon by Insilico Medicine (first place), and Bespin Global Hackathon 2023 (first place), to name a few.

Five years since its inception, MBZUAI is now recognised as one of the world’s top 100 computer science universities and is ranked in the top 20 for its specialisations in AI, CV, ML, NLP, and robotics (CSRankings).

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