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MBZUAI admits new cohort; iot squared acquires machinestalk
Middle East AI News weekly digest...
Welcome to this week’s Middle East AI News! And it’s another big one!
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Our busy August continues with lots of news this week. However, the story that stole global headlines this week was the FT’s report on Saudi Arabia and the UAE racing to buy thousands of Nvidia AI chips! I shared the story via Linkedin on Wednesday and received hundreds of Likes and dozens of comments, shares and messages.
Other media organisations soon jumped on the bandwagon, each trying to write a more sensational headline than the last. The Gulf states were ‘snapping up’ chips, ‘falling over themselves’ and ‘wooing Nvidia’.
The facts are that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are investing heavily in their AI and data strategies and so have a fast-growing demand for compute capacity. There’s huge growth in data centres and a growing number of supercomputers in the region as a result. It’s not impulse buying, it’s strategy.
Scroll down for more AI news from across the region.
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#UAE #education - Abu Dhabi’s Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) welcomed its biggest cohort ever this month, with 142 students from 34 countries. MBZUAI's student body has now reached nearly 300 students, admitted from with more than 4,000 applications received. (Emirates News Agency)
#Saudi #training - The new 'Future Intelligence Programmer Program' was opened for registrations this week by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA). A collaboration between SDAIA and the Saudi Ministry of Education, the programme's first phase aims to train 5,000 students. Register here. (Zawya)
#UAE #curricula - Higher education institutions in Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park are rolling out new programmes for the 2023-24 academic year. The programmes cover AI, robotics, genetics, gaming, and animation, equipping students with future-proof skills. (Gulf Business)
#Saudi #IoT - iot squared is to acquire Riyadh-headquartered Internet of Things (IoT) specialist machinestalk. The acquisition of Machinestalk and its customer bases, will make iot squared the largest specialist IoT player in the Saudi market. (Zawya)
#Saudi #UAE #AIchips - Saudi Arabia and the UAE have bought thousands of NVIDIA AI chips to fuel artificial intelligence development, according to the Financial Times. The FT story said that Saudi has bought at least 3,000 of Nvidia's superfast AI chip. For perspective, the new supercomputer being built for KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) alone will use 2,800 Nvidia Grace Hopper Superchips, so perhaps the news is not that surprising. (FT)
#UAE #governance - H.E. Omar Sultan Al Olama has been selected for the AI Governance Alliance steering committee by the World Economic Forum. The alliance promotes responsible AI and ensures global sustainable impacts. (Emirates News Agency)
#UAE #DIFC #licencing - Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) plans to issue commercial licenses, subsidised by 90%, to boost AI and Web3 businesses. DIFC announced plans to build the Dubai AI & Web 3.0 Campus in June. The move is part of Dubai's strategy to become a global centre for AI and Web3. (The National)
#UAE #materialstesting - Dubai Central Laboratory of Dubai Municipality deploys AI robots using X-Rays for automated chemical analysis on construction materials. These robots speed up testing from 4 days to 8 minutes, improving efficiency by 650%. The initiative aims to streamline operations and enhance quality of services. (Zawya)
#Saudi #Mecca #Islam - A ‘guidance robot’, developed by the Presidency of Religious Affairs, now assists pilgrims at Mecca’s Grand Mosque. The AI-powered robot provides answers to fatwa inquiries, offers translations in 11 languages, and connects remotely with religious leaders. (Arab News)
#UAE #heartdisease- Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) develops portable ultrasound machines using AI for early detection of heart defects in unborn babies. By analysing fetal data, the AI can identify issues rapidly, reducing assessment time from hours to minutes. This affordable solution aims to assist developing nations with limited health resources. (The National)
#Oman #datacentres - Salalah Free Zone shas opened the first phase of a new $348 million data processing and cryptocurrency mining centre. The project was developed by Exahertz, a subsidiary of Al Afaq Technology, and supported by Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology (MTCIT). (Zawya)
#UAE #afforestation - Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) is collaborating with Distant Imagery, using cutting-edge drone technology to plant 2.5 million mangroves in Abu Dhabi. This initiative, part of the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative and in partnership with the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), supports ADNOC's pledge to plant 10 million mangroves by 2030. (ADNOC)
#Saudi #afforestation - The National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification (NCVC), has introduced a program using remote sensing and AI to monitor vegetation. This effort supports the Saudi Green Initiative, monitoring land cover changes, rain amounts, plant health, and tracking afforestation efforts. (Zawya)
#Saudi #EVs - Ceer, Saudi Arabia's first home-grown electric vehicle brand in Saudi Arabia, has announced a partnership with Siemens Digital Industries Software. Electric vehicle design will receive a boost thanks to a specialised software that will collect, analyse and visualise data. (Arab News)
#UAE #blockchain - Everything Blockchain, Inc. appoints Dr. Najwa Aaraj to its board, highlighting her vast expertise in cybersecurity. Dr. Aaraj is Chief Researcher of the Cryptography Research Center and the Autonomous Robotics Research Center at Abu Dhabi’s Technology Innovation Institute (TII). (Yahoo Finance)
#Iran #US #Russia #dronesales - The US has reportedly asked Iran to stop selling armed drones and their spare parts to Russia, amidst rising tensions and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. (The National)
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