Qatar University encourages a culture of innovation, says faculty – The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: Qatar University (QU) boasts a wide range of valuable contributions through high-level research that strives towards advancing society. QU’s research activities are a key pillar of Qatar’s vision to transform into a knowledge-based economy.

QU Professor in Computer Engineering, Prof. Sumaya Al Maadeed, focused her research on artificial intelligence (AI) and applying it to images in the security and medical fields. She began her research by analysing images of faces and fingerprints for use in the forensic identification of the owner of the image, in addition to using advanced methods of crowd management using drones.

In a statement, Prof. Al Maadeed stated, “We have submitted a number of patents funded by QU and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC). We have collaborated with the Security Committee of the SC to develop and benefit from many research projects locally and globally, including video surveillance systems based on deep learning and used in various tasks, including crowd counting, detecting abnormal events, detecting objects, recognising human movements, and others. Deep computer networks are a type of intelligent algorithm that simulates the visualisation of human brains and requires training on copious amounts of data, and these algorithms work well when data is easy to obtain.”

She added, “Recently, the development of automated video surveillance systems has become critical to ensuring the security and safety of the population, especially during events involving large crowds, such as sporting events. AI is paving the way for computers to think like humans, and machine learning and deep learning are paving the way even more by adding training and learning components.”

She elaborated, “These algorithms require data tagging and high-performance computers to effectively analyse and understand surveillance data recorded from fixed or portable cameras installed in indoor or outdoor environments. However, they may not perform as expected, take a long time to train, or do not have enough input data to generalize well. To this end, deep transfer learning (DTL) and deep domain adaptation (DDA) have recently been proposed by the research team as promising solutions to mitigate these problems. These theories and software have facilitated automatic image recognition and counting people in crowds, contributing to accurate and effective crowd management. In addition to these new algorithms, we have been able to develop devices using drones and smart gates for crowd management.”

Dr. Sumaya also mentioned that her team filed a patent for a ‘smart hat’ for computer software systems, methods, devices, and products to help people with visual impairments. It is a smart assistant device that helps the visually impaired navigate and takes real-time images to know where they are and their direction. The method involves sending the image to a single-board computer, processing the images, and providing navigation assistance to the user based on the processed image.

Prof. Sumaya added, “In the fields of AI in medicine, I started with cancer detection research using microscopic images with multiple optical spectra, and we recorded several inventions and systems that we seek to market in the future, in cooperation with Al Ahli Hospital in Qatar and Hamad Medical Corporation. In relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to develop several programmes to analyse medical images and the voices of patients to understand their infection and the stage of the virus. Another research project that I supervised is the use of smart methods in education, and we have applied it in several schools in Qatar with the support of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. I currently supervise graduate students looking at methods and programmes to analyse writing to identify dysgraphia and dysphasia from a young age, for Arabic speakers and others.”

Prof. Sumaya thanked QU and the College of Engineering for their continuous support to provide a conducive research environment, provide laboratories, equipment, and technical support, fund research, manage external funding, encourage innovation, and register patents. In her role as a professor at the university, she encouraged her students to do innovative research and collaborate with industry and local institutions, and she noted that she feels proud to see the outputs of their research work and their contribution to community service.

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