CMU Faculty and Students Win Top Awards at Annual Research Forum

December 2, 2013

Faculty and students from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar were recognized with a number of top research awards at Qatar Foundation’s Annual Research Forum, which was held November 24 and 25 at the Qatar National Convention Centre.

“I am proud of our faculty and students for their outstanding achievements at this year’s Annual Research Forum. I am confident that their research will contribute to Qatar’s development by addressing some of the most important challenges in the country and region,” said Ilker Baybars, dean of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar.

Khaled Harras, associate teaching professor of computer science, won the best oral presentation in the Computing and Information Technology category for a project designed to improve data usage on multi-interface mobile devices like smartphones. The project, "OSCAR: An Incentive-Based Collaborative Bandwidth Aggregation System,” was done in collaboration with Karim Habak, and Moustafa
Youssef from EJUST (Egypt Japan University of Science and Technology).

In the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities category, Dudley Reynolds, teaching professor of English, received best poster award for his project, “Human Capacity Building: The Challenge of Learning to Learn.” The study investigated how Qatari middle school students learn to read scientific material in Arabic and English, and the results will inform professional development opportunities for teachers. The project was done in collaboration with Zohreh Eslami and Nancy Allen from Texas A&M University; Maha Ellili Cherif and Katherine Wright, from Qatar University; and Samah Al-Sabbagh, a senior research associate at Carnegie Mellon Qatar.

Carnegie Mellon students and recent graduates also took home three awards in two categories: Hanan Mohammed Alshikhabobakr and Syed Ali Hashim Moosavi, together with Fathima Thowfeek, won first place in the Computing and Information Technology category for their poster, “Exploration of Optical Character Recognition of Historical Arabic Documents.” Naassih Gopee won second place in the same category for his poster, “Contextual Spellchecker to Improve Human-Robot Interaction”

In the Social Sciences and Humanities category, Maryam Al-Subaie won second place for her poster, “Qatari Colloquial Arabic: A Sociolinguistic Study of Language Change.”

Faisal Alsuwaidi, president of research and development at Qatar Foundation, congratulated all the participants and finalists for taking an active interest and working hard to transform Qatar into an international hub for excellence and innovation in research and development.

He said: “We are extremely proud of all the students and researchers who presented us with superb ideas in the hope of advancing the nation’s ambitious research agenda. Despite the high number of impressive abstracts, oral and poster presentations, the award winners stood out for their creative foresight and for presenting us with an exemplary standard of innovative research that effectively addresses the country’s grand challenges.”

More than 1,100 abstracts were submitted this year, with a total of 517 accepted. Of these, 125 abstracts were presented by students. Students and researchers were encouraged to address one or more of Qatar’s cross-cutting ‘Research Grand Challenges’, which include protecting the nation’s cyber infrastructure, developing and deploying solar energy solutions, ensuring sustainable food supply, integrating health management systems, and supporting Arabic culture, arts, heritage, media and language.

The Annual Research Conference is an initiative of Qatar Foundation Research and Development, rooted in the State of Qatar’s national vision and strategy to foster a community of research excellence and world-class education.


Carnegie Mellon researchers presented their work in a variety of fields at the 2013 Annual Research Forum. Please see the full list below:

Characterization of the Cellular, Biofilm and Pathogenic Properties of Candida and Trichosporon Patient Samples Isolated at Hamad Medical Corporation, Jonathan Finkel, Mei ElGindi, Saad Taj-Aldeen (Poster)

Unsupervised Word Segmentation And Statistical Machine Translation, Kemal Oflazer, Hanan Mohammed, Behrang Mohit (Poster)

Exploration of Optical Character Recognition of Historical Arabic Documents, Hanan Mohammed, Syed Hashem Moosavi, Fathima Thowfeek (Poster)

Summarizing Machine Translation Text: An English- Arabic Case Study, Kemal Oflazer, Houda Bouamor, Behrang Mohit (Oral)

Translate or Transliterate? Modeling the Decision For English to Arabic Machine Translation, Kemal Oflazer, Mahmoud Moneeb, Houda Bouamor, Behrang Mohit (Oral)

QALB: Qatar Arabic Language Bank, Kemal Oflazer, Nadi Tomeh, Ossama Obeid, Behrang Mohit, Nizar Habash (Oral)

Protein- DNA interface: Structural Analysis by Specific Contact Mapping, Valentin Illyn (Poster)

Cultural Adaptation and E-commerce: An investigation of language effectiveness in Arabic e-commerce websites, Liginlal Divakaran, Mohammed Rushdie, Robert Meeds, Rizwan Ahmad (Poster)

ChiQat: An Intelligent Tutoring System for Learning Computer Science, Davide Fossati, Omar Alzoubi, Nick Green, Barbara Di Eugenio (Poster)

Contextual Spellchecker to Improve Human Robot Interaction, Nassih Gopee, Majd Sakr (Poster)

Qatari Colloquial Arabic: A Sociolinguistic Study of Language Change, Maryam Al Subaie, Zeinab Ibrahim (Poster)

Human Capacity Building: The Challenge of Learning to Learn, Dudley Reynolds, Zohreh Eslami, Nancy Allen, Maha Ellili Cherif, Katherine Wright, Samah Al-Sabbagh (Poster)

Different Trajectories in College literacy development: Student experiences and texts, Silvia Pessoa, Ryan Miller, Natalia Gatti (Oral)

Technology for Enhancing Second Language English Literacy Education, Silvia Pessoa, Bernardine Dias, Beatrice Dias, Nada Soudy, Swapnil Joshi (Poster)

Homogeneous Deformation of Internally Balanced Compressible Hyperelastic Materials, Hasan Demirkoparan, Ashraf Hadoush, Thomes J. Pence (Poster)

Towards Computation Offloading in Mobile Device Clouds, Abderrahmen Mtibaa, Afnan Faheem, Moustafa Ammar, Khaled Harras (Poster)

Exploiting Space Syntax for Deployable Mobile Opportunistic Networking, Abderrahmen Mtibaa, Khaled Harras (Poster)

OSCAR: An Incentive Based Collaborative Bandwidth Aggregation System, Karim Habak, Moustafa Youssef, Khaled Harras (Oral)

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