A group of four student researchers from Princeton University recently attended a summer internship programme at Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU). The participation was a part of an ongoing collaboration with Princeton University under their International Internship Programme.
The students were immersed in a hands-on multidisciplinary research experience under the mentorship of distinguished researchers and scientists at QCRI. Their projects explored areas relating to QCRI’s specialisations including data analytics, social computing, and smart cities, and their applications in Qatar.
Dr Eman Fituri, director of educational initiatives, QCRI, said, “Our participation with Princeton University’s International Internship Programme signifies QCRI’s commitment to forming a strong international network and helping to prepare the global leaders of tomorrow in computer science and technology. As in past years, the students worked on several noteworthy and innovative projects to develop solutions to local and global challenges in cybersecurity and computing research.”
Hamza Mahmoud, one of the student researchers, worked on developing an Artificial Intelligence algorithm to limit the effect of fake news, propaganda, and media bias by using fact-checking to increase the awareness levels of readers.
Mahmoud said, “Interning at QCRI gave me the opportunity to perform research in an exciting area of natural language, work with incredible scientists and interact with like-minded interns and staff. The helpful environment at QCRI and the mentorship I received played a crucial part in my learning and the project’s progress. Based on my experience, I’m really grateful that Princeton’s International Internship Programme is collaborating with QCRI.”
Another of the student researchers and a sophomore at Princeton University, Benjamin Coles, worked with QCRI researchers on a project that maps poverty in the Philippines and India by using a combination of satellite and social media data. The team used state-of-the-art methods in deep learning to extract features from satellite images and meta data from social media platforms to analyse the data and to evaluate their relative strengths and weaknesses for mapping poverty.
Research projects by Anuhya Vellore and Phillip Taylor formed part of a larger QCRI initiative in collaboration with various stakeholders including the Ministry of Transport and Communications to explore data-driven research to develop innovative solutions for traffic in Qatar. Phillip worked on the development of a multi-threaded solution to simulate realistic traffic loads on a city-wide scale which will be used to test the impact of the projected increase in traffic during the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Similarly, Anuhya focused on implementing and testing a variety of algorithms for traffic signal optimisation to develop a signal protocol to facilitate an efficient flow of traffic on Doha’s Al Corniche Street.
“My time at QCRI has been both enriching and enjoyable. As part of the Data Analytics team, I have not only been exposed to high-level topics in computer science but have also been able to see the potential real-world impact of our work. My collaboration with committed and supportive mentors has helped further my curiosity to explore how computing research intersects with global issues. Other activities outside the programme, such as the opportunity to explore Qatari culture and society during my visit, has made the experience invaluable,” Vellore remarked.
The undergraduate researchers also had the opportunity to interact with students from universities across Qatar who participated in the recently concluded annual Summer Internship Programme offered by QCRI.