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Story | Research
7 December 2018

The Unexpected Spheres of Social Computing


Scientists at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) are testing some unique applications of Artificial Intelligence.


In the emerging, interdisciplinary field of social computing, Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) is quickly becoming a hotbed for groundbreaking innovation. Case in point, Dr Mohamed Elgharib, who along with collaborators from Trinity College Dublin, has devised an artificial intelligence platform to recreate images in the signature style of famous artists.

Relying on deep learning technology, the system analyzes paintings of a particular artist to discern the distinguishing features of his or her unique style. Once the system learns how to generate similar paintings, users can see their portraits reimagined as a typical Van Gogh or Picasso painting.

Dr Elgharib’s colleague at QCRI, Dr Sofiane Abbar is involved in a completely different yet equally intriguing project. As most residents in Qatar would know, the country’s road infrastructure is being developed at a dramatic pace, and this often results in a maze of unforeseen diversions and traffic congestion for commuters.

Dr Abbar plans to tackle the issue using artificial intelligence and deep learning to create maps that automatically update themselves based on data collected from users. As such, Abbar is involved in a relatively new field known as urban computing, which is concerned with using big data and technology to improve various aspects of cities.

These two projects offer a glimpse of how QCRI is at the very cutting edge of social computing on a global scale. Other pioneering research projects led by QCRI have included: a crowdsourced platform for crisis mapping which is being used by some of the biggest humanitarian and development organizations in the world; and an artificial intelligence-based solution to detect fake news, in partnership with MIT.

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