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Prof. Fellbaum Concluded her Visit to Sina Institute

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Scientific Cooperation Between Princeton and Birzeit

Professor Christiane Fellbaum from Princeton University, U.S.A, visited Birzeit University for an intensive week (from 27th  July to 2nd  August, 2013) to carry out joint research collaboration at Sina Institute, and to teach a course in Computational Linguistics at the 6th International Summer School of the Faculty of IT.

Fellbaum is a prominent computational linguist and one of the first inventors of the WordNet, which is a world-famous English linguistic ontology (i.e., a conceptual dictionary and a semantic network) that includes the most common English concepts and semantic relationships between them.

Prof. Fellbaum’s visit was a part of the institute’s efforts over the last three years in attracting and funding the participation of international scholars in Birzeit’s IT summer school.

During her visit, she met several researchers at Sina Institute and many thoughtful ideas have been discussed to help in building the Arabic Ontology and its mapping to the English WordNet. This cooperation is an ongoing activity of the EU-FP7 SIERA project that is coordinated by Sina Institute and in which Fellbaum is a core partner in. SIERA project aims to  bridge and create further research cooperation with scientists around the world in the field of Multilingual and Multicultural knowledge sharing technologies, such as multilingual search engines.

The director of Sina Institute, Dr. Mustafa Jarrar, highlighted that, during her visit, Fellbaum in cooperation with researchers at Sina Institute have established a cooperation framework to enable researchers from both Birzeit and Princeton Universities to unite and reconcile concepts across Arabic and English languages. Such cooperation can play a crucial role in building multilingual applications, such as search engines, machine translators, among many others.

Fellbaum delivered a course at the annual summer school in the Faculty of Information Technology. The course covered topics in Linguistic Ontology, Computational Linguistics, and Natural Language Processing. She presented the ­­­foundation of building the English WordNet, and clarified strategies and methods used to build such a linguistic ontology, and how to semantically link the concepts and verify its credibility.

More than thirty undergraduate and master students attended the course, in addition to researchers and faculty members from Birzeit University. Nafiz Qassim, a master student added “Thanks to Birzeit for always attracting world class scientists and exposing us on  such interesting topics, which I will certainly chose as a Master theses”.

Dr. Abdel Latif Abu Issa , the head of the Computer Systems Engineering Department  and  the director of the Summer School, emphasized that “ the summer school is a pedagogical activity conducted annually by Birzeit University and this year was its sixth year in a row, where international scholars from well-reputable universities and on advanced technologies participate in providing the summer courses

Prof. Fellbaum commented “My visit to Birzeit and Sina Institute, and my interactions with students and colleagues there, have been immensely rich and rewarding. I was deeply impressed with the level of commitment to research and education among the hard working faculty and the intellectual maturity of the students who challenged me with questions and comments in the classroom and outside. My hosts’ extraordinary hospitality and endless patience in educating me about the Palestinian people, its culture, land and history, made this one of the most impressive weeks in memory. I am eager to encourage my colleagues to build and reinforce scientific bridges, perhaps to accompany me on my next visit”.

It is worth mentioning that Sina Institute has contributed over the past few years in attracting and funding the participations’ of International Scholars in the Summer Schools organized by the University; such as, the participation of Professor David Chadwick from the University of Kent in the UK and Professor Paulo Bouquet from the University of Trento in Italy in the year 2012. And in 2011 the institute facilitated the participation of Professor Carlo Battini and Professor Gianluigi Viscusi from Milano University in Italy.

In the media :

تبادل علمي بين بيرزيت وبرينستون

جامعتي بيرزيت وبرينستون في تبادل عِلمي جديد وقيّم .

تبادل علمي بين جامعتي بيرزيت وبرينستون الأميركية.

اتفاق على اطار عمل متبادل بين جامعتي بيرزيت وبرينستون الأميركية   (Archive/أرشيف).

جامعتي بيرزيت وبرينستون في تبادل عِلمي جديد وقيّم .

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