UAE's best universities: Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence

The National's guide to universities in the Emirates continues with this Abu Dhabi-based postgraduate institution, which was founded in 2019

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As thousands of final-year students in the UAE submit their applications to local universities, we take a look at some of the best higher education options in the Emirates and what they have to offer

Where is it from?

The UAE.

When was it founded?

2019.

What is it?

Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) describes itself as the world’s first graduate research university focused on artificial intelligence and its future applications across industrial sectors. MBZUAI says that it aims to advance AI “as a global force for positive progress”. Offering MSc and PhD programmes, the university says it aims to foster the use of AI to promote economic growth and make Abu Dhabi an international AI hub.

Where is it based?

Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.

What are examples of the fees?

The students are offered a full scholarship for the master’s and PhD programmes.

What subject areas does it teach?

MBZUAI offers master’s and PhD programmes in three subjects (information supplied by the university):

• Computer vision: how computers can be used to automatically understand and interpret visual imagery. It aims to mimic the capabilities of the human visual cortex using machine vision algorithms. It studies how an image is created, the geometry of the 3D world, and high-level tasks such as object recognition, object detection, and tracking, image segmentation, and action recognition. Computer vision has applications in augmented/virtual reality, autonomous cars, service robots, biometrics and forensics, remote sensing, and security and surveillance.

• Machine learning: the study of algorithms and statistical models that computer systems use to perform a specific task without using explicit instructions, relying on patterns and inference instead. These algorithms are based on mathematical models learnt automatically from data, allowing machines to interpret and analyse input data to derive useful knowledge and arrive at important conclusions. Machine learning is heavily used for enterprise applications (eg business intelligence and analytics), effective web search, robotics, smart cities, and understanding of the human genome.

• Natural language processing: system development that allows computers to communicate with people using everyday language. Natural language generation systems convert information from the computer database into readable or audible human language and vice versa. Such systems also enable sophisticated tasks such as inter-language translation, semantic understanding, text summarisation, and holding a dialogue. The critical applications of natural language processing algorithms include interactive voice response applications, automated translators, digital personal assistants (eg Siri, Cortana and Alexa), chatbots, and smart word processors.

Where is it ranked globally?

The university is ranked 127th in the world by CSRankings (Computer Science Rankings).

In the areas that MBZUAI currently focuses on — AI, computer vision, machine learning, and natural language processing — it has been ranked 1st in the Arab region and 30th globally.

Who goes there?

A total of 133 students from more than 35 countries have joined the programmes, including 115 who are pursuing master's degrees and 18 doing their PhD. Emirati students make up 13 per cent of the total student body and female students account for approximately 31 per cent. The best-represented countries are China, India, Pakistan, the UAE, and Kazakhstan. The first cohort is due to graduate this December.

How has the university responded to the Covid-19 pandemic?

In a statement, the university said: “The health and well-being of MBZUAI’s students, faculty, and staff is a top priority, as is providing the safest academic environment for students to be able to focus on their studies and research projects, and take full advantage of the world-class education that they receive at the MBZUAI campus. During the Covid-19 outbreak, and after welcoming the first cohort back in January 2021, the university implemented a tech-driven approach and adopted a hybrid learning model to ensure continuity in the academic session. Today, all programmes have returned to in-person and on campus.”

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Dr. Eric Xing, President of Mohammed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence in Masdar City. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

A word from Prof Eric Xing, president of MBZUAI: "We aim to nurture the next generation of technologists and developers — future leaders who will usher in the next phase of AI-enabled innovation. Our strength is our commitment to driving excellence in knowledge creation, transfer, and the use of AI to foster economic growth. With our skilled and widely celebrated faculty, we ensure our students receive cutting-edge training and are prepared to be innovators and leaders with the breadth and depth of knowledge to grow technology and enterprise in the UAE and globally."

Updated: June 22, 2022, 8:23 AM
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