Two students from the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) were chosen to take part
in the Stanford University Women in Data Science International Conference to give
lightning talks on their research work. The students’ projects were conducted at the
Intelligent Clouds and Distributed Computing Systems (INDUCE) Research Lab at the
UAEU’s College of Information Technology under the supervision of Dr Leila Ismail,
Associate Professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University.
They became an instant hit when they presented to a virtual audience on March 20,
Shaikhah Alhmoudi, who majored in computer science, focused her work on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Machine Learning for Cloud Computing Energy Savings in Smart Cities. Although it is vital for smart cities to run big data and interactive applications, their need for additional servers also means a higher consumption of electricity and energy. Ms. Alhmoudi looked towards saving energy using an intelligent agent. She spoke of her interest in the topic following a class with Dr Ismail, when she first heard of the INDUCE Research Laboratory and the riveting AI projects that were taking place. Soon enough, Ms. Alhmoudi joined Dr Ismail’s laboratory in Spring 2020 and had the opportunity to get involved in the project which she later presented at the Stanford conference.
The fact that she had personally helped on the project was a deciding factor in Ms. Alhmoudi being selected to present at the Stanford conference, she believes. “They were selective so working on the research with professionals helped us in being selected,” she said, adding that the programmes at the University provide students with a large amount of knowledge. “A lot of topics were covered in my programme, like AI, machine learning and cloud computing, among others, which dive deeper into the field.”
She also benefitted from additional courses alongside her main programme such as Islamic Culture and Introduction to Languages and Communication, which also helped pave her journey towards success. “I was very happy when I found out I was selected because it was a very good opportunity for me,” Ms. Alhmoudi said. “I was very excited to be a part of the conference.”
During her presentation, she tackled an array of topics, including CPU applications, predicting energy consumption, and building machine learning models. “I felt like my audience really learnt something and it’s really a field I want to work in one day,” she concluded.
For her part, Sumyah AlKatheri chose to focus her work on Time Series Forecasting of COVID-19 Infections in the United Arab Emirates. Her project entails using the autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model to predict the number of COVID-19 infections in the country. As a result, the model then helps the UAE Government to take effective measures, allocate resources efficiently and plan accordingly, while also aiding healthcare organisations to organise their own medical resources successfully.
Ms. AlKatheri’s interest in the field stemmed from her fascination in the ability of mathematical methods to predict the number of infections and provide a realistic picture of any situation at hand. In turn, this allows for effective decisions to be taken by the country’s authorities.
The University played a great role in Ms. AlKatheri’s selection for the prominent Stanford conference, starting with the quality of programmes it provides its students. “They are very advanced,” she said. “Being a part of the INDUCE Research Laboratory also developed my skills for these projects and I joined extracurricular activities as well, such as the Debate Club, which helped me enhance myself.”
She spoke with great enthusiasm of her selection, describing it as a major event organised by one of the world’s most prestigious universities. “The audience was amazed by our research because it was related to what we are going through right now,” she explained. “It was interesting for many.” Persistence, resilience, hard work and pushing beyond one’s perceived limitations were all strong qualities Ms. AlKatheri nutured at the University. The UAEU also helped in her personal development, creating strong bonds and connections that she believes will be useful for her future.
The projects the students were involved in, are part of the INDUCE Research Laboratory’s ongoing work, and took place outside their own courses. Dr Ismail explained that she regularly involves students in such projects. “This is completely beyond their call for duties,” she said. “I have been supervising the students in research so that they are equipped with knowledge and practice in hot research topics.”
Dr Ismail, who is the Founder and Head of the INDUCE Research Laboratory, was also selected to give a keynote presentation on March 8, 2021, on the Future of Machine Learning for Combatting COVID-19. She further mentioned a paper accepted with the students as co-authors in a Scopus-Indexed International Conference.
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