Technology

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

Leaders, entrepreneurs, and scientific researchers have played a prominent role in developing the artificial intelligence sector in the Arab region. Who are they? What is their pioneering role in the field of artificial intelligence?

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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The allure of Artificial Intelligence is sweeping across the globe, and the Arab world is no exception. Just as the steam engine, combustion, and computers revolutionized our lives, AI is poised to make an indelible mark on our existence and livelihoods. We're already feeling its touch.

While many of us are acquainted with practical AI applications like self-driving cars, only a handful truly grasp the mechanics of this groundbreaking technology. Even fewer are familiar with the brilliant minds propelling these advancements. So, let's shine a spotlight on the AI trailblazers in the Arab world.

The Rise of AI in the Arab World: The UAE as a Case Study

The United Arab Emirates stands out with a distinctive strategic vision in the realm of artificial intelligence. Although not directly comparable to AI powerhouses like the United States and China, the UAE is keen to amplify its role as a catalyst in this sector. Thanks to the strategic foresight of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE has launched its AI 2031 strategy, which is far more than mere ink on paper—it's a roadmap aimed at transforming the nation into a global hub for innovation.

In a groundbreaking move in 2017, the UAE appointed Omar Al Olama as the world's first Minister for Artificial Intelligence. This role was established to prepare the UAE for both the positive and negative ramifications of AI, making it the most prepared nation for this technological revolution.

Who is Omar Al Olama?

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

His Excellency, Omar Al Olama is the visionary behind the UAE's transformation into a global AI hub. Appointed as the State Minister for Artificial Intelligence in October 2017, he has since initiated game-changing projects in various sectors from transportation to energy. His portfolio was expanded in July 2020 to include digital economy and remote work applications. In February 2023, he was appointed as the Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office, showcasing the leadership's confidence in his capabilities.

Born in Dubai on 16th February 1990, he is an alumnus of the American University in Dubai, where he received an education that served as a turning point in his professional journey. He is also an active member of the World Economic Forum, highlighting his international influence.

Top Arab AI visionaries:

In the vast expanse of the Arab world, a new generation of pioneers is emerging, making their mark in the realm of artificial intelligence. This list, meticulously curated, showcases the luminaries from various Arab nations, encompassing both men and women. Their diverse specializations and unique perspectives are a testament to the region's burgeoning potential in AI. As we delve into their stories, we'll uncover the passion and drive that propels them forward in this ever-evolving field.

Hamid Al-Shamsi

حميد الشامسي

  • Country: United Arab Emirates
  • Position: Artificial Intelligence Expert at Abu Dhabi Police
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Networking, Computer Engineering

Hamid Al-Shamsi, an expert in the field of artificial intelligence, currently works with the Abu Dhabi Police. Prior to this role, he was a researcher at the Florida Institute of Technology and an IT consultant for the Abu Dhabi Police.

Academically, he earned his PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2015. He also obtained his Master's in Computer Networking from Brunel University London in 2013 and his Bachelor's in Computer Engineering from the University of Portsmouth in 2012.

Al-Shamsi is a prominent figure in the AI sector in the UAE, focusing on utilizing technology to solve problems and innovate new solutions. He has extensive experience in applying artificial intelligence across various domains, making him one of the leading voices in this field regionally.

Mazen Melibari

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Position: Partner and Chief Technology Officer at TAM
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science

Dr. Mazen Melibari is a Partner and Chief Technology Officer at TAM. He previously served as the Chief Research & Innovation Engineer at the Saudi Information Technology Company (SITE). Additionally, he held the position of General Manager of Research and Innovation and was an Artificial Intelligence Advisor at SITE. He also served as an Advisor and Lead Artificial Intelligence Researcher at the MiSK Foundation, a Google Developer Expert in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and an Assistant Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Melibari was the former Chairman of the Information Research Department at the Hajj Research Institute and the founder of the Advanced & Creative Technologies Research Unit at the same institute.

 He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. 

His research interests focus on developing machine learning algorithms for reasoning under uncertainty and applying AI techniques to address real-world challenges, especially in the field of Natural Language Processing. He has published his research in prestigious academic journals and conferences such as AAAI, IJCAI, ICML, and AAMAS.

 He has been actively participating in local and global software developer communities since he was 7 years old. Recently, he co-founded Lucidya, a tech startup that assists businesses and decision-makers in making smarter strategic decisions using AI and machine learning technologies.

Tuka Alhanai

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: United Arab Emirates
  • Position: Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at New York University-Abu Dhabi, and Principal Supervisor of the Human-Computer Intelligence Lab
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Human Interaction, Electrical Engineering

Tuka Alhanai is a trailblazer in the realms of artificial intelligence and human interaction. Currently, she holds the post of Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at New York University-Abu Dhabi and serves as the Principal Supervisor of the Human-Computer Intelligence Lab at the same institution. With a robust academic background, she's garnered her qualifications from MIT and the Petroleum Institute in the UAE. She's also been honored with prestigious awards, including the "Innovators Under 35" award in 2018 for her invention of "Emot," a wearable AI system capable of gauging the prevailing mood in a conversation.

Hani Altwaijry

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Saudi Arabia
  • Position: Senior Engineer for Computer Vision and Machine Learning at Apple
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning

Hani Altwaijry is a specialist in artificial intelligence and computer vision. Until recently, he was serving as a Senior Engineer at Apple, focusing on machine learning and computer vision. Academically, he's previously worked as an Assistant Professor at Cornell University and as a visiting researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. He earned his undergraduate degree in computer science from King Saud University and continued his postgraduate studies at the University of California, where he obtained his Master's and Ph.D. degrees. In 2017, he was awarded a Ph.D. in the field of computer vision and machine learning from Cornell University. He shows a keen interest in entrepreneurship and cutting-edge technology.

Bachir Abdelmalik

بشير عبد المالك

  • Country: Algeria
  • Position: Professor of Computer Science and Director of the National School of Artificial Intelligence, Algeria
  • Specialization: Communication protocols, Internet, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence

Bachir Abdelmalik, a graduate of the National School of Computer Science in Algiers, obtained his DEA and Doctorate degrees from the University of Aix-Marseille II and Grenoble Institute of Technology in France in 2002 and 2007, respectively. During his doctoral project, he worked as an R&D engineer at the Orange Group in France, focusing on low-power communication protocols for the Internet of Things. He also served as a research associate at the Grenoble Institute of Technology in France and Imperial College London in the UK.

In addition to academic and industrial research, he co-led a venture project funded by Imperial Innovations during his stay in London. He also has extensive experience in managing large higher education institutions, having served as the Vice-Rector of Education at the University of Biskra in Algeria for four years. He was also a visiting professor at INSA/Lyon, France. He was awarded the "Prix de thèse", a prize given to the best Ph.D. dissertations at the Grenoble Institute of Technology, France. Currently, he is a Professor of Computer Science and the Director of the National School of Artificial Intelligence in Algiers, Algeria.

Abdelmalik Bachir has a keen interest in several research areas, including Internet engineering and communication protocols. He particularly focuses on Internet of Things technologies and intrusion detection. He has advanced research in location prediction and privacy, not to mention his significant interest in D2D communication.

Fatima Albalooshi

فاطمة البلوشي

  • Country: Bahrain
  • Position: Assistant Professor in the Computer Engineering Department at the University of Bahrain
  • Specialization: Computer Vision, Image Processing, Medical Image Segmentation

Fatima Albalooshi, shining in the field of computer engineering and computer vision, currently holds the post of Assistant Professor in the Computer Engineering Department at the University of Bahrain. She's earned her academic credentials from prestigious global universities like the University of Nottingham and the University of Dayton in the United States. Dr. Albalooshi excels in areas like object recognition and tracking, image processing, and medical image segmentation. She's also interested in 3D reconstruction. In 2018, she published a book covering diverse topics, including artificial olfactory classification systems and chemical sensing.

Adel Al-Tamimi

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: United Arab Emirates
  • Position: Director of Digital Products & Solution Management 
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Big Data, Internet of Things, Blockchain

Adel Al-Tamimi, a prominent Emirati tech personality, currently serves as the Director of Digital Products and Solution Management at the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). Additionally, he's a member of the Forbes Tech Council. He serves on the board of the College of Information Technology at the University of Dubai, participating in numerous tech and strategic committees within the Dubai government. In his professional journey, he's received several accolades, including the Innovation Award from the Business Intelligence Group and the Tech Project of the Year Award from Arabian Business magazine.

Alia Bahanshal

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Saudi Arabia
  • Position: Director of the National Center for Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, and Assistant Professor in the same city
  • Specialization: Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analysis

Alia Bahanshal, a leading Saudi entrepreneur in the field of artificial intelligence and data analysis, currently serves as the Director of the National Center for Data Analysis and Artificial Intelligence at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. She also holds the post of Assistant Professor in the same city. Bahanshal is involved in developing tech platforms focusing on natural language processing, computer vision, data mining, and social media analysis. She was awarded the Women in Tech and Business Award for 2021 by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

Mustafa Jarrar

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Palestine
  • Position: Professor in the Computer Science Department at Birzeit University, Co-founder of "Karras"
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Computational Linguistics, Data Engineering, E-Governance

Mustafa Jarrar is a luminary in computer science and artificial intelligence. He serves as a professor at Birzeit University in Palestine and is a co-founder of the blog "Karras," specializing in Palestinian dialect. On the global stage, he's been appointed as a lead researcher at the Free University of Brussels and sits on numerous international scientific committees. He's spearheaded and participated in over twenty international projects, earning prestigious accolades such as the Abdul Hameed Shoman Award, Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Arabic Language, and a Google grant for academics. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Free University of Brussels, as well as other distinguished degrees. Currently, he's engrossed in pioneering projects in the Arabic language, such as constructing an Arabic language ontology and launching the world's first Arabic dictionary search engine.

May Habib

May Habib

  • Country: Lebanon
  • Position: CEO and Co-founder of Writer
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning

May Habib is the CEO and co-founder of Writer, an AI-powered content generation platform tailored for enterprises. Writer offers a secure and customized solution for companies, training on their own data while adhering to brand guidelines. It is an enterprise-grade platform with data security and privacy features, widely deployed in leading companies like UnitedHealthcare, Accenture, Intuit, and more.

In addition, Habib holds a patent for a remote localization system that enables developers to efficiently update visual and textual content as well as the user interface without the need to reprogram applications for each geographical region.

Prior to founding Writer, Habib was a co-founder of Qordoba, a platform focused on translation and localization, and has worked in the field of Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning for over a decade. She also serves as a board member of TechWadi, an initiative aimed at connecting entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa with investment and talent networks in Silicon Valley.

She earned her Bachelor's degree in Economics from Harvard University and is considered an expert in the field of Artificial Intelligence and its business applications.

Ebtesam Almazrouei

Ebtesam Almazrouei

  • Country: United Arab Emirates
  • Position: Lead Researcher at the Technology Innovation Institute "TII", Executive Director, and Chief Researcher at the Cross-Center for Artificial Intelligence and Co-founder.
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Digital Transformation, Knowledge-Economy, Communications.

Dr. Ebtesam Almazrouei, a leading Emirati researcher, has been working as a lead researcher at the Technology Innovation Institute "TII" since January 2022. She is also the director and co-founder of the Cross-Center for Artificial Intelligence at the Technology Innovation Institute in Abu Dhabi. She boasts extensive expertise in artificial intelligence, digital transformation, knowledge economy, and communications.

She has held several prominent positions, including the head of the AI subcommittee in the UAE and an advisory member of the global advisory council for the Wireless World Research Forum. She also worked in the field of research and innovation in the UK and the UAE for 11 years.

Ebtesam is the first Emirati to obtain a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence and has received the "Outstanding Excellence" award from Global Foundries in Germany. She has innovated and developed mechanisms for monitoring and managing signals from the fifth-generation and advanced wireless networks. She has obtained several patents in the fields of artificial intelligence and deep learning.

She holds a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence from Khalifa University in the UAE, a Master's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the same university, and a Bachelor's degree in Communications and Electrical Engineering from the United Arab Emirates University

Salem Alelyani

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Saudi Arabia
  • Position: Artificial Intelligence Director
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science

Salem Alelyani serves as the Director of Artificial Intelligence at TAHAKOM. Previously, he held the position of Associate Professor at King Khalid University in Saudi Arabia and also oversaw the university's IT department as its General Supervisor.

 In his academic journey, he previously worked as an Assistant Professor at King Khalid University and Arizona State University and was an advisor to the President of King Khalid University. His research focuses on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science. Salem Alelyani is known for enriching Arabic content in the field of AI through social media and his personal blog. He aims to benefit students, researchers, and enthusiasts in this field. From an educational standpoint, he earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2013 from Arizona State University, a Master's in Computer Science in 2008 from DePaul University, and a Bachelor's in the same field in 2003 from King Abdulaziz University.

Latifa Al-Abdulkarim

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Saudi Arabia
  • Position: Assistant Professor in the IT Department at King Saud University, Visiting Researcher at the University of Liverpool, Member of the Saudi Shura Council
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, AI Ethics, AI in Law

Latifa Al-Abdulkarim is an Assistant Professor in the IT Department at King Saud University. She also works as a Visiting Researcher at the University of Liverpool and is a member of the Saudi Shura Council. In her professional journey, she served as an AI consultant at the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and was a member of UNESCO's special team on AI ethics. Educationally, she earned her PhD in AI Systems in Law in 2016 from the University of Liverpool, and a Master's in Computer Science in 2011 from the same university. Her research focuses on AI and its ethics, and she is interested in the legal and philanthropic applications of AI.

Essa Basaeed

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: United Arab Emirates
  • Position: Head of Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies 
  • Specialisation: Computer Engineering, AI in Security and Policing

Essa Basaeed is the Head of Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies at the General Directorate of Artificial Intelligence with the Dubai Police. In his professional journey, he previously served as the Head of the Technical Projects Study Department at the same directorate and as Vice President of the Innovation Club in Resources. He also worked as a Research Assistant at Khalifa University and a Visiting Researcher at the University of Bristol in the UK. From an educational standpoint, he earned his PhD, Master's, and Bachelor's degrees in Computer Engineering from Khalifa University in the UAE. He is one of the recipients of the "Innovators Under 35" award for 2018 from MIT Technology Review for his innovation of an algorithm to distribute police patrols more efficiently. This algorithm reduced the response time to emergency incidents and helped optimise the use of security resources.

Lamya Abdulaziz AlOmair

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Saudi Arabia
  • Position: Head of the Artificial Intelligence and Biomedical Informatics Department at the King Abdullah Global Medical Research Center "KAIMRC"
  • Specialization: Biomedical Informatics, AI in Healthcare

Lamya Abdulaziz AlOmair is the Head of the Artificial Intelligence and Biomedical Informatics Department at the King Abdullah Global Medical Research Center "KAIMRC". In addition to that, she is a faculty member at George Mason University in the United States. In her professional record, she held the position of HR Systems Director in Health Affairs at the Saudi National Guard Ministry. Her work focuses on transforming data into useful knowledge, especially in the field of healthcare and biomedical informatics. She earned her Ph.D. in the field of Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology in 2017 from George Mason University, a Master's in Health Informatics in 2007 from King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences and a Bachelor's in Computer Science from King Saud University.

Yehia Khoja

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Saudi Arabia
  • Position: General Director of AI & Businesses Development
  • Specialisation: Electrical Engineering, Artificial Intelligence in the Energy Sector

Yehia Khoja is the General Director of AI and business Development at the Saudi Ministry of Energy and also serves as the Commander of Future Energy at the World Energy Council. He has extensive experience in the energy and artificial intelligence sectors. Previously, he worked as a Product Development Manager at Nvidia in the AI Infrastructure division. He has also served as a technical consultant for the Saudi Energy Efficiency Program and as a network engineer for the same program. He holds a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration from Stanford University, as well as a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Bordeaux University. He is highly active in disseminating knowledge about artificial intelligence and has expertise in energy efficiency, local content development, the circular carbon economy, artificial intelligence, and innovation. Recently, he was praised by the Saudi Minister of Energy, His Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, as a role model for Saudi youth.

Fouad Bousetouane

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Algeria
  • Position: General Director of AI & Businesses Development
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, Machine Learning

Fouad Bousetouane is a prominent scientist in the field of artificial intelligence and computer vision. He currently holds the position of General Director of AI & Business Development at the American company Grainger. He is also a member of the International Association for Computer and Information Science and Technology. His academic career is marked by diversity and creativity, having earned his scientific degrees from Badji Mokhtar Annaba University in Algeria. He has also worked as an assistant professor and postdoctoral researcher at several universities. He has received several prestigious awards, including the title of "Best Executive Director for Research in Artificial Intelligence and Complex Technologies" among 500 candidates from North America. Bousetouane shows great interest in scientific research in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer vision, and is considered one of the scientists who actively contribute to the development of this field on the international stage.

Mona Diab

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Egypt
  • Position: Research Scientist in the Artificial Intelligence Department at Facebook and Professor at George Washington University
  • Specialization: Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics

Mona Diab is a distinguished Egyptian scientist in the field of artificial intelligence, with a particular focus on machine learning and natural language processing. She currently works as a Research Scientist in the Artificial Intelligence Department at Facebook and as a Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at George Washington University. Diab has extensive academic and research experience, having worked at several prestigious research and academic institutions such as Stanford University and Columbia University. She is involved in research in areas such as syntactic and semantic text processing, information extraction for big data, and machine translation. She holds several scientific degrees, including a Ph.D. in Computational Linguistics from the University of Maryland and a Master's degree in Computer Science from George Washington University. She is considered one of the prominent scientists contributing to the development of artificial intelligence and computational linguistics, especially in relation to the Arabic language and its dialects.

Loubna Bouarfa

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Morocco
  • Position: Founder and CEO of Okra
  • Specialization: Machine Learning in Healthcare, Artificial Intelligence

Loubna Bouarfa is a distinguished Moroccan researcher in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, especially in healthcare applications. She currently serves as the Founder and CEO of OKRA.AI, and has held multiple positions in startups and academic circles. She was also a member of the High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence under the European Commission and has served as a consultant for several institutions. Academically, she holds a Ph.D. in machine learning for healthcare applications from Delft University in the Netherlands and has conducted postdoctoral studies in machine learning at Imperial College London. Lubna has received several prestigious awards, including the "Innovators Under 35" global award from MIT Technology Review, and was selected as one of the top 50 women in technology by Forbes magazine. She is considered one of the prominent Arab women in the field of technology and artificial intelligence.

Sami Al-Adawi

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Oman
  • Position: CEO of ESBAAR, an Omani company
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Systems, Commercial Drones

Sami Al-Adawi is an Omani entrepreneur working in the field of artificial intelligence and technology. He currently serves as the CEO of ESBAAR, an Omani company specializing in providing artificial intelligence solutions and autonomous systems, as well as commercial drone services. In his professional career, Sami has participated in the founding of several startups, including Kobi for delivery services and Sigmax, which offers an analytics platform in the field of drones. Educationally, he holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in the United States. He has also undergone several educational courses in fields such as machine learning, neural networks, and data science from global platforms and universities. Sami is considered one of the prominent figures in the field of artificial intelligence and technology in Oman and is interested in various technological fields such as robotics and self-driving cars.

Nizar Habash

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Palestine
  • Position: Tenured Professor in Computer Science at New York University Abu Dhabi
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, Computational Linguistics

Dr. Nizar Habash is a virtuoso in the world of artificial intelligence, with a focus on natural language processing and computational linguistics. He's the maestro behind the baton at New York University Abu Dhabi's Computer Science Program. He also helms the CAMeL Lab, a research hub specializing in language modeling. Dr. Habash is a linguistic polymath, dabbling in everything from computational morphology to syntax, semantics, and digital linguistic resources. Before joining NYU Abu Dhabi, he was a researcher at Columbia University. His academic journey took him through Old Dominion University and the University of Maryland College Park.

Kinda Altarbouch

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Syria
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Lablib
  • Specialization: Digital Services Development, Arabic Language Technology

Kinda Altarbouch is a digital sorceress, conjuring up innovations in Arabic language technology. She's the captain steering the ship at Lablib, and a member of the advisory board for Popular Science Arabia. In academia, she's been an assistant professor at Damascus University and a mentor for the university's robotics club. She's a recipient of MIT Technology Review's "Innovators Under 35" global award and has been featured in lists of young Arab leaders. She holds a bachelor's degree in computer science with a specialization in AI from Damascus University.

Dhiya Al-Jumeily

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Iraq
  • Position: Professor of AI and Assistant Dean of Engineering and Technology at Liverpool John Moores University, UK
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Software Engineering, Medicine, Environment, Biology, Healthcare

Dhiya Al-Jumeily is an academic luminary from Iraq, illuminating the field of artificial intelligence. He's the Assistant Dean at Liverpool John Moores University's College of Engineering and Technology. He's also the founder and chair of the IEEE International Conference series on developments in eSystems engineering. With over 300 published articles and 12 books, he's a veritable library of knowledge. He's an alumnus of Baghdad University and holds a Ph.D. in software engineering from Liverpool John Moores University. He's been honored with the British Empire Medal for his contributions to AI.

Iyad Rahwan

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Syria
  • Position: Founder and Director of the Center for Human and Machine Research at the Max Planck 
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Information Systems, Information Technology

Iyad Rahwan is a Syrian-Australian scientist, a maestro in the orchestra of human and machine intelligence. He's the director of the Center for Human and Machine Research at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany. His research portfolio is a kaleidoscope of machine behavior, AI ethics, and human-machine relations. He's keen on using science to understand and shape the disruptions caused by emerging technologies like AI, the web, and social media.

Imed Zitouni

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Tunisia
  • Position: Engineering Director at Google
  • Specialization: Computer Science, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing

Imed Zitouni is the engineering virtuoso at Google, orchestrating research and development in natural language understanding and knowledge engineering. He's a former principal research manager at Microsoft and a research scientist at IBM. He holds a Ph.D. and a master's degree in computer science from Henri Poincaré University, and a bachelor's degree from the National School of Computer Science in Tunisia.

Fatmah Baothman

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Saudi Arabia
  • Position: Founder and Chairwoman of the Saudi Artificial Intelligence Association, Assistant Professor at King Abdulaziz University
  • Specialization: Automatic Arabic Voice Recognition, Artificial Intelligence

Fatmah Baothman is a trailblazer in the AI landscape of Saudi Arabia. She's the founder and chairwoman of the Saudi Artificial Intelligence Association and an assistant professor at King Abdulaziz University. She's been a director at Apple's education sector and has contributed to the establishment of the computer science department at the university. She holds a Ph.D. in automatic Arabic voice recognition from the University of Huddersfield, UK.

Fadel Adib

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Lebanon
  • Position: Assistant Professor at MIT, Founder and Director of a Research Group in the Multimedia Lab
  • Specialization: Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Wireless Signals

Fadel Adib, a virtuoso in electrical and computer engineering, serves as an Assistant Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He's also the founder and director of a research group specializing in kinetic signals.

His research has led to groundbreaking applications in wireless signals, such as wall-penetrating vision and underwater wireless sensing. In 2014, he was named to MIT Technology Review's "Innovators Under 35" list and served as a judge for the same list from 2018 to 2020. He earned his undergraduate degree in Computer and Communication Engineering from the American University in Beirut and continued his postgraduate studies at MIT, where he obtained both his Master's and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Hajar Mousannif

هاجر المصنف

  • Country: Morocco
  • Position: Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Founder of the Master's Program in
  • Data Science at Al Qadi Ayyad University
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, Internet of Things

Hajar Mousannif is a professor in the realm of Artificial Intelligence and the founder of the Master's Program in Data Science at Al Qadi Ayyad University in Morocco. She has an extensive track record in scientific research and technological development.

Throughout her career, she has served as a communications engineer at Al Qadi Ayyad University and chaired the program committees for several international conferences. She also holds multiple technological patents in the field of Artificial Intelligence and big data analytics.

On the educational front, she earned her State Engineering Diploma in 2005 from the Higher Institute of Post and Telecommunications in Rabat and her Ph.D. from Al Qadi Ayyad University.

Her research interests encompass Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.

Ahmed Guessoum

أحمد قسوم

  • Country: Algeria
  • Position: Professor at the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene and Director of the National School of Artificial Intelligence
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, Machine Translation

Ahmed Guessoum is a distinguished professor at the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene in Algeria and serves as the director of the National School of Artificial Intelligence. He is considered one of the leading computer scientists and AI experts in the Arab world.

In his illustrious career, he has held various roles such as the Director of Systems and Information and Computer Networks and Distance Education at the University of Science and Technology Houari Boumediene. Additionally, he has been an Associate Professor at the University of Sharjah and an Assistant Professor at King Saud University, along with being a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Bristol.

Educationally, he obtained his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science in 1984 from the University of Houari Boumediene, a Master's in 1987 from the University of Southern California, and a Ph.D. from the University of Bristol.

His research interests include Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, and Machine Translation.

Rana el Kaliouby

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Egypt
  • Position: Co-founder and CEO of Affectiva,
  • Specialization: Emotional Artificial Intelligence

Rana El Kaliouby is the co-founder and CEO of the AI startup Affectiva, an MIT Media Lab spin-off. She also serves as the Executive Vice President of Smart Eye in Boston and is an Executive Fellow at Harvard Business School.

In her academic journey, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at MIT and was a member of the Board of Trustees at the American University in Cairo. She earned her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge and both her Master's and Bachelor's degrees from the American University in Cairo.

Her research focus is primarily on Emotional Artificial Intelligence, and she is the author of the book "Girl Decoded," which delves into this field. She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being inducted into the "Women in Engineering" Hall of Fame and is listed in Forbes' Top 50 Women in Tech for 2018, as well as MIT Technology Review's "Innovators Under 35."

Muad Al Omari

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Jordan
  • Position: AI Specialist and Trainer, Business Development Manager at Stallion AI
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Training, and Development

Muad Al Omari is a specialist and trainer in the field of Artificial Intelligence and currently serves as the Business Development Manager at Stallion AI in the UAE. In addition to this, he is the co-founder of the aiqom platform, aimed at democratizing the creation and learning of Artificial Intelligence.

In his professional journey, Muad Al Omari has worked as a trainer and training manager at various institutions, including the UAE Ministry of Education, Hail University in Saudi Arabia, and the Global Generation Company for Training and Education Services in Malaysia.

Academically, he earned his Master's degree in Artificial Intelligence in 2008 from the University of Utara in Malaysia, and his Bachelor's degree in Computer and Information Science in 2006 from the Jordan University of Science and Technology. Muad Al Omari is keen on designing and developing training programs and workshops in the field of Artificial Intelligence, particularly in the areas of governmental excellence and financial services.

Samhaa El-Beltagy

Top Artificial Intelligence Visionaries in the Arab World

  • Country: Egypt
  • Position: Professor of Computer Science, Dean of the School of Information Technology at New Giza University, Head of Research and Development in the field of Natural Language Processing at Automatica
  • Specialization: Computer Science, Natural Language Processing, Data Mining

Samhaa El Beltagy is a professor of Computer Science and serves as the Dean of the School of Information Technology at New Giza University. She also heads the Research and Development department in the field of Natural Language Processing at Automatica. Additionally, she is the co-founder of AIM Technologies, focusing on advanced sentiment analytics. 

She obtained her Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2001 from the University of Southampton, and her Master's in 1997 and Bachelor's in 1993 in Computer Science from the American University in Cairo. Her research interests lie in Natural Language Processing, data, and text mining, and she has extensive experience in both academia and industry.

These individuals do not represent individual success but reflect a strategic vision of Arab countries toward the adoption of technology and innovation. This aims to elevate the Arab world as an emerging force in the field of Artificial Intelligence, rather than merely being consumers of it.

Bernard Ghanem

Bernard Ghanem

  • Country: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Position: Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Deputy Director, KAUST AI Initiative
  • Specialization: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Semantic Analysis, UAV Technology

Bernard Ghanem is a distinguished figure in the domain of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Computer Vision, currently serving as an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Deputy Director of the KAUST AI Initiative at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Before embarking on his journey at KAUST, Ghanem was a Research Scientist at the same institution in 2012, a Senior Research Scientist at the Advanced Digital Sciences Center (ADSC) of Illinois in Singapore in 2011, and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2010.

Academically, Bernard Ghanem achieved his Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2010 and 2008, respectively. He also holds a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) from the American University of Beirut (AUB) acquired in 2005.

Ghanem’s commitment to advancing the field of Artificial Intelligence is demonstrated through his role as the Principal Investigator of the Image and Video Understanding Lab (IVUL) and as a member of the Visual Computing Center (VCC) at KAUST. He also holds an Adjunct Senior Research Scientist position at the Advanced Sciences Digital Center (ADSC) of Illinois, in Singapore, where he leads the Semantic Analysis of Video Project. His research delves into novel computational 3D action recognition methods and tools for artificial vision systems, which are instrumental in future city design and optimization, security monitoring, and creating cutting-edge avatars for environmental and archaeological explorations, such as the development of a humanoid-diver avatar for underwater archaeological research deeper than 20 meters.

Bernard Ghanem is a significant voice in the AI community, especially within the realms of semantic analysis, UAV technology, and machine learning. His innovative approaches and applications of AI and machine learning technologies are not only advancing the academic community but also significantly impacting various other domains including surveillance, autonomous vehicles, smart traffic control, and human-computer interaction.

Editor's Note: This is not an official list from Inc. Arabia, it is a subjective article based on research from different websites and sources. It is an evolving article that will continue to be updated with the latest information.

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