Keynote Speaker – The 2nd International Symposium on Computer and Arabic Language, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, October 10-12, 2009.

Second Symposium on Computers and Arabic Language

The past few years have witnessed remarkable developments in the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the effects of which are felt in every aspect of life. Due to these developments, the concept of information society is becoming a reality. Different countries are now competing to transform into information societies that rely on information technology more than relying on conventional industries to develop their economies. The implication of this, is the appearance of new concepts and mainstream applications covering a wide range of areas. For example, e-Commerce, e-Government, e-Learning, e-Business and many related concepts are now quite familiar in a number of countries. The Internet and the web have evolved into a huge distributed environment that may be used to build useful applications and services. Furthermore, mobile devices are evolving into full computers that may be used to perform a variety of tasks. Information technology is no longer for elites and specialized people, but a mainstream field involving all sectors of society. As a result computer applications need to be provided in the native language so that ordinary people can easily access and utilize them. These applications should also be supported by information content, search tools and support utilities, all in the native language of the user. Consequently, the pressure on Arabian societies to cope with these challenges is now higher than ever.

In recognition of these facts, King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology (KACST) is organizing the second symposium on Computers and Arabic Language.

The International Symposium on Computers & Arabic Language (ISCAL) will be held at King Faisl auditorium in the Intercontinental Hotel in Riyadh, during the period 10-12  October 2009.

Symposium Objectives

•    Monitoring the latest developments in computers and Arabic language.

•    Providing a forum for interdisciplinary scientific exchange among researchers and scientists.

•    Contributing to scientific research and technology.

•    Providing training courses on the topics of the symposium.

Symposium Program (PDF)


Speakers Booklet (Abstracts & Bios)


Welcome Address by the organizing committee

It is our pleasure to welcome you to the Second International Symposium on Computer and Arabic Language. It’s a honor for King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology (KACST) to organize this
event which is held under the auspices of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. This year’s event will particularly focus on the Arabic content industry, a cornerstone
of the King Abdullah Initiative for Arabic Content which KACST was assigned to supervise through a collaborative effort with relevant stakeholders.

A selected group of world speakers with distinguished contribution to the content industry will participate in this event to share their experience with the audience. The topics of the symposium were carefully selected to cover the diverse aspects of content industry, including: commercial and economic models, digital libraries as well as scientific, media and entertainment content. The symposium will also discuss some of the regional and international experiences in that context, in addition to suggested strategies and plans on content enrichment and development. The symposium will also discuss some of the challenges facing the Arabic content industry, and potential ways to address them. Some of the future projects and plans of the King Abdullah Initiative for Arabic Content will be presented as well.

We hope that this symposium will be a successful platform for people to share and exchange their ideas and expertise, and enhance collaborative ties to ultimately serve the Arabic content industry.

Symposium themes:

  • King Abdullah’s initiative for the Arabic content.
  • Scientific content industry.
  • The educational content industry.
  • Media content industry.
  • Entertainment content industry.
  • The content industry and the preservation of the identity.
  • • The economics of the content industry.
  • (Infrastructure) Of the content industry.
  • Software and tools for Arabic content industry.
  • Managing projects related to the content industry.

Symposium Objectives:

  • Exchange experiences, and take advantage of successful experiences in the industry of the digital content.
  • making clear criteria to create the digital content.
  • Developing an integrated plan to reach a national integrated strategy for digital content creation.
  • Identify elements of the Arab digital content industry.
  • Defining mechanisms of evaluating and following-up projects related to the digital Arabic content industry
  • Develop the role of government institutions and research centers in the area of the content industry.
  • Activating the role of the private sector, civil society and non-governmental organizations in the Arab content industry


King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) is an independent scientific organization administratively reporting to the Prime Minister. KACST is both the Saudi Arabian national science agency and its national laboratories. The science agency function involves science and technology policy making, data collection, funding of external research, and services such as the patent office. KACST has currently over 2500 employees. Based on is charter 31.I.2.1.985, KACST’s main responsibilities can be summarized as follows:

Main Responsibilities: 

  • Propose a national policy for the development of science and technology and develop strategies and plans necessary to implement them.
  • Coordinate with government agencies, scientific institutions and research centers in the Kingdom to enhance research and exchange information and expertise.
  • Conduct applied research and provide advice to the government on science and technology matters.
  • Support scientific research and technology development.
  • Foster national innovation and technology transfer between research institutes and the industry.
  • Foster international cooperation in science and technology.

The King Abdullah Initiative for Arabic Content

Information Technology (IT) nowadays plays an important role especially in developing countries. In addition, the extent of IT possession and proper usage has become an indicator of progress in these countries. IT has changed the means of exchanging information, gaining knowledge and providing services.

Being the most common form of IT, the internet has become the means for people around the world to preserve their culture and enrich their knowledge by providing large digital content covering various subjects in the form of text and multimedia. The web digital content has recently become an underlying foundation for different activities and industries.

Although many languages have a large share of the web content, Arabic digital content remains limited. Its share is far less than that of the number of Arabic speakers. King Abdullah Initiative for Arabic Content was launched in light of these facts. Its main objective is to expand the Arabic content on the web quantitatively and qualitatively.

The Initiative Projects

Implementation of the initiative has been assigned to KACST. It is currently working with other institutions within and outside the Kingdom to develop tools that help enrich the content such as dictionaries, search engines, morphological analyzers, speech recognition systems, and optical character recognition systems. KACST is also seeking to increase Arabic content itself by cooperating with different organizations and companies to create more Arabic content and to enhance its quality.

KACST has already started implementing some projects that include: a strategic and roadmap plans for the initiative, the translation of dozens of scientific books into Arabic, an Arabic interactive dictionary, Arabic open content and a multimedia center. Other activities have been also organized including content enrichment competition, symposiums, meetings, and workshops. KACST is working towards starting other projects with related partners since Arabic digital content is the responsibility of all Arabic speakers. KACST will take the lead and pave the road for any tools or methods that would ultimately enrich Arabic content so that other parties can carry on and fill in the missing elements.



Dr. Mohammed ibn Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel
KACST President

Professor Mohammed I. Al-Suwaiyel, is the President of KING ABDULAZIZ CITY FOR SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY (KACST), holding. rank of a Minister from 1 July, 2007. KACST is a government institution in Saudi Arabia charged with the development of science and technology. Born in Al-Mahad (Saudi Arabia) on 25 / 12 / 1950, he obtained his in General.

Engineering (Systems) from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals in 1972, M.Sc., in 1975 and Ph.D., in Computer Science (Algorithms) in 1979 from the University of Southern California.

– He worked at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) as Chairman of the Systems Engineering Department,
– Chairman of Computer Science Department, and Dean of the Computer Science and Engineering College.
– He moved to King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) as Vice President for Research Institutes from 1991 to 2003.
– He was Governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission from March 2003 till June 2007.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of a number of organizations,
– The most recent of them is the Board of Directors of SAUDI ARAMCO since 2001,
– the supreme council for petroleum and mineral resources, and the military industries council.
– Prof. Al-Suwaiyel has given a number of courses in Computer Science,
– Computational Mathematics and Data Security at KFUPM and King Saud University,
– and has published a number of conference and journal papers in international and regional organizations.


Dr. Turki bin Saud Al Saud
KACST Vice President for Research Institute

  • PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from Stanford
  • Director of the KACST Space Research Institute (19882004-).
  • Appointed in 2004 KACST Vice-president of Research Institutes.
  • Chairman of the Scientific Council at KACST.
  • Chairman of the Supervisory Committee of the National policy for Science and Technology.


The knowledge-based society and content enrichment in the National plan for Science, Technology & Innovation

It has become crucial for every society to have an advanced national system of science, technology and innovation that can address current and potential related challenges. KACST was thus directed to develop a comprehensive long-term science and technology plan. Given the importance and the size of this endeavor, KACST coordinated this national effort with the Ministry of Economy and Planning, along with all relevant private and public stakeholders. This lecture will discuss the National Plan, detailed implementation programs and mechanisms. The lecture also sheds light on the National Plan sub-programs which play a vital role in the knowledge-based society and in the Arabic content enrichment.


Dr. Abdulrahman Alhaj Salih
President of the Algerian Arabic Language Academy

  • Dr. Abdulrahman was born on 8th of July, 1927 in Wahran city in Algeria.
  • Worked as a teacher and a researcher in the University of Algeria. And in 1964 worked as the head of the Arabic Language Department then the Dean of the College of Arts until 1968.
  • Earned his PhD in Linguistics from the Sorbonne University in 1979.
  • In 1988, he was selected to work in the Arabic Language Academy in Cairo, Egypt.
  • Until 2002, he has 71 research paper and study published in different scientific magazines in Arabic, French and English.
  • In 2000, the president of Algeria, Mr. Abdulaziz Bouteflika chose him to be the president of the Algerian Arabic Language Academy.


Identity and creativity in language corpora

Languages incorporate ideas and views on the world which are specific to those who speak it. Collectively, these ideas and views weave the identity of peoples, which they would lose if they were
to abandon their language. An identity deprived of creativity may become introspective and isolated. The best incentive for creativity while preserving identity is to present each Arab citizen with the opportunity to fulfill his required cultural and scientific potential. Assuming this happens indeed, as the current education curricula are in fact unfit to allow this to happen, the government would have helped produce an elite of inventor scientists. The best way for this to happen is to build a key reference covering every branch of science and culture- in other words the Arabic internet. It would provide an answer to any question raised by an Arab citizen in every field of science, art, technology and the Arab culture: from a young pupil inquiring about a school matter, to a scientist in need of a constant input of information. This project has become a reality, yet it still requires a coordinated effort to mature and succeed. The Arabic digital content will thus become close or somewhat equal to the English content in size and quality. This project is closely related to informatics and linguistics. It will cover many scientific interests, and will probably require an Arabic-specific theory. We thus invite all Arab researchers to study Arabic theories related to language analysis. We conclude our research with a study of the main principles used by Arab scholars to analyze the Arabic language.


Dr.Ahmed Tantawy
Mega Projects – Growth Markets – IBM Software Group

  • Currently, he is the Chief Technology Officer for IBM’s Mega Projects in the Growth Markets area.
  • In his prior assignment, he established and managed the IBM Technology Development Center in Cairo, Egypt.
  • From 1998 to 2000, Dr. Tantawy was the Director of Advanced Technology Development in IBM’s Software Group in the USA.
  • Between 1980 and 1988, Dr. Tantawy was a University Professor and an independent consultant in the USA, France, and the Middle East.
  • His technical and scientific contributions include 18 issued patents, 4 books and over 100 refereed scientific papers.
  • Dr. Tantawy received his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering in 1980 from Grenoble, France. Alexandria University, Egypt, granted him the B.Eng. and M.S. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1973 and 1976, respectively.


Innovation in the Digitization of Arabic Cultural Heritage

Language is a critically important tool, not only for human communication, but also for the development as well as the preservation of culture. Beyond Language Processing, Information Technology can enable numerous innovative approaches in support of the various activities related to Cultural Heritage. Examples of such activities include the archiving and dissemination of historical information, the scanning and preservation of ancient manuscripts, the three-dimensional reconstruction of artifacts, and the virtual reality rendition of monuments and cities that no longer exist. In return, Cultural Heritage is providing very stimulating challenges that the Information Technology specialists need to address. Examples of technologies that have to be pushed beyond current limits include imaging technology, pattern recognition, database architecture, mobile computing, speech processing, and automatic translation. To illustrate this, let us consider the complexity of scanning and processing images of broken and deformed artifacts, especially those that have transparent or shining parts, such as glass or gold. Let us also imagine the possibilities of exploration that a well designed database that links each artifact to its original site, its current location, and other artifacts that it has been associated with or attached to. Let us now couple that with a full virtual reality rendition of scenes of the past, showing people using places of worship, homes, fields, and palaces where such objects were located. Let us go one step further and consider designing such systems in a way that simplifies their evolution to accommodate future corrections and refinements that new theories and discoveries necessitate. The rich interaction between Cultural Heritage and Information Technology is offering a very interesting challenge that fascinates many but one that very few can address. Such projects are very complex and require a wide range of expertise and a significant commitment not only in resources but also in high level sponsorship and support from political, academic, social, and -possibly-religious organizations. This presentation uses a couple of real examples to highlight the challenges that a team of technologists and Arabic culture experts may face and the results that they can achieve if they cooperate properly towards a common goal, within a well-orchestrated environment


Dr.Usama Fayyad
CEO – Open Insights

  • CEO of Open Insights, LLC.
  • Executive Chairman of
  • Up until September 2008, Fayyad was Yahoo!>s chief data officer and executive vice president of Research & Strategic Data Solutions.
  • Fayyad earned his Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1991), and also holds BSE>s in both electrical and computer engineering (1984); MSE in computer science and engineering (1986); and M.Sc. in mathematics (1989).
  • Published over 100 technical articles in the fields of data mining and Artificial Intelligence.
  • More information on his website (


Social Media, Addressing the Gap in Arabic Content, and Marketing Digital Content

We are all familiar with the sad reality that Arabic content in general, in all types of media including books, video, film, newspapers and magazine, is significantly lower than is expected given the size of the Arabic-speaking population around the globe. This phenomenon is particularly emphasized on the Web because of the novelty of this medium and the delayed penetration and adoption of the on-line technology in the Arab World. We will address some of the aspects of this weakness and propose that one of the fastest approaches to address this deficiency in content is through user-generated content (UCG) and platforms that enable social media for sharing and distributing Arabic content. We observe this through comparative patterns of rates of growth of content by observing phenomena of content growth on-line in other languages. We also discuss the challenges associated with the new social media and their potential role in marketing. We conclude with a discussion of the marketing aspects of content and Search and their role in driving content use and development.


Dr.Amen kalak
Coordinator of Science Projects – ALECSO

  • Working as a Coordinator of science projects in ALESCO since 1983.
  • Worked as a chief editor for a couple of Arabic science journals.
  • He is the coordinator at ALECSO for the project : Interactive computer dictionary for Arabic language
  • Working now on projects concerning scientific media and science fiction
  • Has a PhD in Applied Geography specialized in (Morphometric analysis of the terrain using mathematical modeling and automatic drawing of maps) from the University of Comensky, Bratislava.


Scientific experiment: evaluation of morphological analyzers

This paper presents an exciting scientific experiment intended to encourage experts of automated processing of the Arabic language. The Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO) recently collaborated with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) to contact a number of stakeholders involved with the morphological analysis of the Arab language, from inside and outside the Arab region. It then organized a conference at the Damascus Arabic Academy to allow experts to present their morphological analyzers, before giving them samples to test their analyzers. It also appointed a jury committee to test the efficiency of these analyzers


Mr. Pierre Escaich
Director of Studios Operation – Ubisoft

  • Pierre Escaich has served as Director of Worldwide Studio Operations since January 2006.
  • Has a degree in international economics from Ecole Supérieure de Commerce, Toulouse.
  • In 1998 he joined Ubisoft, working with the Purchasing and Manufacturing department.
  • Over the course of the next 7 years, Pierre quickly progressed from the role of a Planning Coordinator, to Manufacturing Department Manager, and finally to his current position.
  • In his 3 years as Director of Worldwide Studio Operations, Pierre has helped the group to add 11 studios to its network, bringing the total to 23, with locations on five continents.
  • Today, Ubisoft has positioned itself as 4th independent publisher worldwide with the second-largest creative force in the industry.


Entertainment Content Industry 

This presentation will cover the following aspects:

  1. Brief History of the entertainment content industry.
  2. Current position of the entertainment content industry
  3. The future of the entertainment content industry
  4. ENTERTAINMENT CONTENT Development process & infrastructure requirements
  5. Human Resources Development (Best Practice)


Dr. John Van Oudenaren
Senior Advisor for the World Digital Library (WDL) – Library of Congress.

  • Currently, he is the senior advisor for the World Digital Library (WDL) initiative at the Library of Congress.
  • He received an A.B. degree from Princeton University and a Ph. D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Prior to joining the Library, he worked at the RAND Corporation, the U.S. Department of State and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies.
  • He heads the Library>s Global Gateway digital library project, which was launched in 2000.
  • For more information, visit the webpage :


The Arabic Language and Arabic Content on the World Digital Library

The World Digital Library enriches Arabic language content on the Internet in two ways. Arabic is one of the WDL interface languages, which means that all metadata, descriptions, interpretive materials, and navigational and administrative information on the WDL is available in Arabic (along with English, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish). In addition, the WDL includes unique and rare cultural materials from and about the Arab world, including scientific manuscripts, calligraphy, and rare books, journals, maps, and photographs. Significant contributors of such content include the national libraries of Iraq and Egypt, as well as libraries elsewhere in the Middle East and in Europe and North America. The project welcomes additional partners who have suitable items or collections to contribute. Since its launch on April 21, 2009, usage of the WDL has been high: more than 37 million page views by 4.3 million users, with users from every country in the world. However, traffic from the Arab world has lagged somewhat traffic from other parts of the world, and the WDL team at the Library of Congress is interested in finding ways to boost usage of the Arab-language interface and accessing of Arab content.

Dr. Abdulaziz AlZoman
Consultant and Director of the Saudi NIC- CITC

  • Associate professor, consultant at the Saudi CITC, Director of the Saudi Network Information Center, which he founded in 1416H. Official responsible for the registration and administration of Saudi domains.
  • BS in Computer Engineering from the College of Computer and Information Sciences at King Saud University in 1406H, MA & PhD in Computer Science from New Brunswick University in Canada in 1411H & 1415H consecutively.
  • Supervised the Kingdom’s internet introduction trial project in 1416-1419H (also supervised the Saudi internet network operation center)
  • Played a significant role in introducing the KSA to the internet, member of the KACST Internet Services Unit design team, which was at one point the Kingdom’s sole portal to the internet.
  • Participated in the Arab domain names trial project under the Arab league. He currently chairs the project’s supervisory committee. Previously chaired the linguistic committee which is affiliated with the Arab Internet Names Consortium. Previously a member of the Consortium.


Saudi domain names & supporting the use of the Arabic language

Domain names represent a vital and sensitive source on the internet which is updated every once in a while. The concept of the IDN (Internationalized Domain name- which includes Arabic domain names) is probably among the most important recent developments in this context, as it has been the subject of repeated international demands to end the monopoly of Latin characters on domain names. Such developments require executive and strategic plans to be implemented by registration centers worldwide. This lecture will also examine Arabic domain names, as well as the steps needed to support the use of Arabic domain names. The lecture will also discuss a possible strategic plan for Saudi domain names (.sa)


Dr.Abdulaziz Al-Molhm
Assistant Undersecretary of Planning and Studies, and the General Supervisor of Information Technology – Ministry of Culture and Information

  • Assistant Undersecretary of Planning and Studies, and the General Supervisor of IT at the Ministry of Information and Culture since 2006
  • Chairman of the Arabic e-media Media Committee
  • Chairman of the E-transactions Committee at the Ministry
  • Chairman of the Computer engineering Department at KFUPM -2005
  • Member of the e-government technical committee in the Eastern province since 2004
  • Saudi Chapter President- IEEE Computer Society 20042006-
  • Higher Diploma in Advanced Administration and Leadership, Oxford University (England)- 2009
  • PhD in ATM
  • Master’s Degree in Computer Engineering (linguistics e-circuits manufacturing)
  • Holder of many ATM and internet related patents registered in the US & Europe
  • Many scientific contributions in world, domestic and Arab conferences
  • Published a number of research papers in peer reviewed scientific journals


Digital Media Industry

Media has been known to be one of the political tools in the modern age. It heavily relies on transporting publicly needed information among individuals as well as communities. Throughout history, one form or another of media had been used to bring close intellectual and cultural differences between nations. As information technologies becoming more advanced and digital media become more sophisticated, there has been major shifts in the space of media influence: mass media principles transformed into citizen journalism, one way media transformed into interactive media. This has demanded enormous change in the media data containers and in particular the Arabic data which in turn had created significant gap in this arena as well as its regulation and future use. Media data in particular is considered as a major pillar in the digital economy. It has great political and sociological values as it becomes critically indispensable due to its geopolitical dimensions. We as Arabian societies fall short in these particular aspects. In this presentation we shed some lights on the new age of new media, its challenges and opportunities. We enlighten the audience with the means to overcome these challenges and specifically those related to the Arabic contents.


Dr.Abdulkader Kamli
President and Research Director – Madar Research Group

  • Currently, he is the President and Research Director of Madar Research Group, which he founded in 2002; Mr. Kamli has pioneered regional research and consultancy in the various fields of the emerging knowledge economy; from ICT adoption by governments, industry sectors and individuals, to e-learning, e-banking and other applications of technology.
  • Before Madar, he served as General Manager of Web portal (Sakhr Software), where he founded the Ajeeb Research Unit, which specialized in researching the knowledge economy.
  • He is also the co-founder of the PC Magazine Middle East and founder of Internet Arab World magazine, published by DIT group, and he served a long tenure as Editor-in-Chief for both
  • Mr. Kamli holds a Masters degree in Engineering, and has an experience of about 30 years in the ICT, media and research industries.


Building a new Arabic search engine- necessity and success factors

The internet currently has 10 Arabic search engines, in addition to world search engines with Arabic language support, led by Google, which provides valuable services to Arab users of the internet. A question then arises: Is there a need for a new Arabic search engine? Why? And if there is such a need, what is needed to guarantee the success of such an engine?

This lecture examines the current world and Arabic search engines, identifying their limitations in terms of Arabic texts search activities and services offered to Arab users. The lecture goes over 5 specific search engines that have surpassed Google in the countries where they were launched.

The lecture then goes on to study the cultural and social benefits of creating a new high quality Arabic search engine. It presents a feasibility study of the projects, estimating the growth of internet advertising revenues in Arab countries in coming years, and the potential market share of the new proposed search engine. The lecture also examines the success factors of this project in terms of specifications and human and financial seed capital.


Dr.Christopher Bindal
Publishing Editor – Springer

  • Dr. Christopher Bendall: Publishing Editor Springer.
  • BSc with Honors in Geology and Archaeology, James Cook University, Australia.
  • PhD in Geochemistry, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany.
  • Joined the Springer as Publishing Editor in 2006.
  • Now responsible for a major part of Springer>s Open Access Journal program.


E-Books, the Future of Publishing has Already Arrived

In 2005, the Springer scientific publishing company made a strategic decision to make all of its future titles and many of its past titles available electronically. As the first science publisher to do so, Springer now enjoys the lion>s share of the electronic book market for academic content. This presentation will follow the development of Springer’s ebook program, highlighting the key factors in its success and describing the new technologies and changing attitudes which are driving the continued dramatic increase in the usage of Springer’s online content.


Dr. Kareem Darwish
Researcher – Cairo Microsoft Innovation Lab – Microsoft.

  • Dr. Darwish is a researcher at the Cairo Microsoft Innovation Lab, which is part of Microsoft Research.
  • He focuses on digital content services for the web, the enterprise, and digital libraries.
  • His research interests lie in the areas of information retrieval and natural language processing.
  • Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a researcher at IBM’s Technology Development Center in Cairo and a consultant with the bioinformatics firm KEVRIC.
  • Since earning his Ph.D. from University of Maryland, College Park in 2003, he has also taught at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the German University in Cairo, and Cairo University.


Digital Content Services

The talk will address research endeavors to enhance the usability and accessibility to digital content. The traditional method for finding content revolves around indexing and search. However, search serves merely as an entry point to content and users require many more services. These services include automatic content recommendation, browsing, and linking, automatic event notification, and interactive content creation. Such services would improve the usability of existing content and would entice users to invest more time and effort to generate content.


Dr.Mohsen Rashwan
Chairman of the Board & Managing Director – DRI

  • Currently working as a professor in Cairo University, Faculty of Engineering, Electronics and Communications Department.
  • He is also the managing director for RDI Corp. RDI is working in the applied research area for Arabic HLT
  • Dr. Rashwan is interested in DSP applications and hardware implementation, pattern recognition and classification, speech, image and video processing and natural language processing.
  • Dr. Rashwan has filed three patents and published over 65 publications.
  • Dr. Rashwan received his B.Eng., M.Sc., in Electronics and Communications department, Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University in 1977 and 1980 respectively. He received another M.Sc. and his Ph.D. from EE department, Queen>s University, Canada in 1988.


Towards A Roadmap for Arabic Human Language Technologies

The field of human language technologies (HLT) covers a broad range of activities with the eventual goal of enabling people to communicate with machines using natural communication skills. Research and development activities include the coding, recognition, interpretation, translation, and generation of language. The study of human language technologies is a multidisciplinary enterprise, requiring expertise in areas of linguistics, psychology, engineering and computer science.

Being spoken by more than 300 millions, Arabic is one of the most important languages of the world. There is a considerable effort being done in the development of Arabic language technologies. Arabic speech recognition, Arabic text-to-speech, Arabic-English and English-Arabic translation, and Arabic information extraction are among the topics that are recently being researched by even non-native Arabic speakers.

The lecture will present the progress that has been made by the professionals in the Arab region in the field of HLT. The lecture will enable attendants to grasp the challenges in this area. Analysis for the current situation of the Arabic HLT is given. The need for a road map to organize the efforts for the evolution of the Arabic HLT in the Arab region is given in the talk. The mission and the strategic goals are also proposed in the lecture.


Dr. Mohammed Al-Qasim
Advisor for the Minister of Communications and Information Technology and Secretary General, for the National ICT Plan – MCIT

  • Dr. Mohammad AlQasem, holding a BS degree from College of Computer & Information Sciences, King Saud University, and Master Degree in Information Technology from University of Pittsburg, USA, and PhD in Computer Science from University of Keele, UK.
  • Dr. Alqasem was the head of the department of computer science at King Fahad Security College, also he worked in the National Information Technology Plan project. Dr. Alqasem participated in several committees and consulting and technical studies, in addition to his carrier in teaching at some of the universities and colleges in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • Currently, Dr. Alqasem works as advisor for the Minister of communications and information technology. And Secretary General, for the National ICT Plan, he is a member of the e-Government program (Yesser) steering committee
  • Dr. AlQasem is an author of two books in the information
    technology field.


The Digital Excellence Award and supporting Arabic content

The Holy Quran was revealed in Arabic, the language which Allah the Almighty vowed to preserve till the end of times. Many nonArab Muslims are eager to learn it so they can read the Holy Quran and understand it. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was the Divine choice to be the cradle of Islam and the compass of all Muslims around the globe, as it is the land of the Two Holy Mosques, Mecca and Medina.

The Ministry of Communications and IT has thus been especially interested in Arabic content sites, as it seeks to enhance Arab content on the World Wide Web. To achieve the goals of the National Communications and IT Plan, the Ministry went on to create a periodic national award in 2006 intended to encourage Arabic digital content enhancing initiatives, promoting awareness of the importance of distinguished Arabic sites serving society.

Over the past few years, the Award has helped enhance Arabic internet content by recognizing and spreading distinguished sites. It has also helped develop quality standards to serve private and public bodies developing e-sites.


Dr.Mohammed Meryati
Senior advisor in science and technology for sustainable development in UN-DESA

  • Senior advisor in science and technology for sustainable development in UN-DESA.
  • Advisor in the ministry of Economy and Planning in Saudi Arabia since 2006.
  • Has a PhD in physics specialized in signal processing in 1976 from INPG-France. Has a bachelor degree in Electronic Engineering from the American University in Beirut in 1968.
  • Published a lot of research papers in signal processing, information technology, Arabic language and Text Processing.


Content Based Economies

The digital content industry plays two important economic roles, first as a vital knowledge industrial sector, and second, as a generator of non-material assets to the national economy, or as a wealth or knowledge capital accumulator.

As the global economy continues to transform into a knowledge-based economy, knowledge content has become a key factor to economic growth, according to the New Growth Theory (Romer, Solow).

This lecture will examine both roles of content development, as well as existing issues related to the Arabic digital content before suggesting appropriate policies to address these challenges. Among these issues:

  • Translation to the Arabic language as one of the means of enriching Arabic content, and its vital role in preserving this language and allowing it to interact with the past and the future.
  • Sectoral illiteracy or the lack of Arabic language exchange in modern economic sectors, leading to weak demand for Arabic content in these particular sectors, and its economic impact.
  • Teaching science in Arabic and excelling in foreign languages, which weaken demand for Arabic scientific content and affect terminology development
  • The lack of linguistic policies and strategies in Arab countries, and the resulting economic consequences
  • The lecture will also present world practices in this context.


Dr.Nabil Ali
IT Expert

  • Got His PhD in Flight Engineering in 1971.
  • Worked -and still working- in field of computer and programming for over 35 years.
  • Established the idea of Sakhir computers and Al-Alamiyah Soft and designed over 30 programs including the first computer based Qur>an.
  • Specialized in Computational Liguistics in order to apply AI techniques into Arabic language processing.
  • Has over 30 published research papers.
  • Has a lot of published books about Arabic language in Computers.


Roadmap of an Arabic Digital Content Industry

The lecture surveys the prospects of the Arabic content industry, including content acquisition, preparation, digitization and value added development. It also goes over intellectual rights protection related to content providers and users. The study presents a comprehensive view of human- created and automated digital content. More specifically, it discusses the means for the Arab world to acquire semantic web technology, and the smart systems needed for automated Arabic language processing.


Dr.Heidi A. Alaskary
Deputy Executive Directorfor Research Prince Salman Center for Disability Research

  • She entered The Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and obtained her B.S. and M.S. majoring in Speech Pathology and Audiology and minoring in Psychology (Cum Laude).
  • She was awarded her PhD from Vanderbilt University specializing in Speech Language Pathology and with a minor in Linguistics.
  • Dr. Alaskary’s has worked in several private and public clinics in the US and in Saudi Arabia.
  • She is now an Assistant professor in Speech-Language Pathology/Clinical Coordinator at King Saud University.
  • She began working in tandem with the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research and then joined the center as Associate Executive Director for Research and Development Researcher and finally as Deputy Executive Director for Research for the Center.


Disability, Technology, and Accessibility in the Arab World 

Today we live in a technology driven world. What once was considered a luxury and topic for researchers and scientists has become a necessity in our everyday – most basic – activities. One population who stand to gain the most from technological developments is the disabled. Technology in relation to disability is much more than lack of internet/computer access. It involves all the communication tools and assistive devices enabling a person with a disability to be independent and an active participant in all areas of the community. The purpose of this presentation is to:

  • Define disability and the populations within this broad term who can benefit from technology in the Arab world.
  • Outline how populations with disability use or can use technology.
  • Highlight the challenges faced by individuals with disability in accessing and using technology in the Arab world.
  • Emphasize current and future Local efforts being made to improve access to technology for individuals with disabilities.

Yves Chenet
Director – Red Tech Consulting

  • Yves Chenet is the Owner and Director of Red Tech consulting, a Strategy Consulting Firm.
  • Yves has more than 20 years experience in the Telecom market, in the engineering, marketing, IT and strategy areas.
  • Before founding Red Tech Consulting, Yves was the Corporate Strategy Officer for the Telecom & Media Practice of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.
  • Has an MS degree from Ecole Polytechnique, France.
  • Has an MBA degree from Stanford University, USA.


International Content Initiatives 

ATS and Red Tech Consulting are formulating the Strategy for the King Abdullah Digital Content Initiative, which is led by KACST. As part of it, Red Tech Consulting is conducting a benchmarking exercise to identify what leading nations are doing at the national level to accelerate growth of digital content production and usage.

Nine countries have been selected for benchmarking using a set of criteria based on demographics, maturity of the digital content market, infrastructure development and government leadership in digital content promotion. As a group, the benchmark countries represent a diverse mix of best-in-class countries together with fast growing markets and countries with similar profiles to Saudi Arabia.

The Benchmark presentation will contain major initial findings and their possible applications in Saudi Arabia as it seeks to transform itself into an information society.

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