As part of the DeCAIR project, which is coordinated by the University of Jordan (UJ) and funded by the European Union within the framework of Erasmus + project, a technical workshop for parties that are interested and working in the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics domains was held virtually.
This workshop, which was held on Thursday, March 4, included about 70 experts from the public and private sectors, academicians, students, researchers and experts from the project partner countries (Jordan, Lebanon, Italy, Germany and Spain).
The workshop schedule included presentations from faculty members from the European partner countries in addition to representatives from companies working in the field of AI and robotics.
During the workshop, experiences were presented and exchanged in the field of AI and robotics, the benefits and impacts of these technologies on various fields, and the importance of developing academic programs, in both Jordan and Lebanon, to prepare graduates with qualifications appropriate to the needs of the labor market.
The speakers and participants in this workshop emphasized the importance of these technologies and the necessity of creating new programs for preparing specialists in these areas and developing current programs to add and develop topics for these technologies. The European partners emphasized that the interest in such programs is great and that graduates of these programs are needed in the labor market. The participating experts from the public sector and the private sector emphasized the need for such disciplines.
At the workshop beginning, Prof. Gheith Abandah, the general coordinator of the project, gave a general overview of the advancements of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (AIR) applications in different aspects of our life, and presented the project goals and the general plan on how to achieve these goals.
Dr. Lucia Pallottino from the University of Pisa, Italy, gave a brief about the master program in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and data engineering at her university and the joint projects they have with companies from the private sector.
Also she stressed on the importance of the program in feeding various sectors with distinguished graduates. She also mentioned that due to the reputation of the program graduates more than 96.7% of them receive a job offer within two weeks after graduation.
Whereas, Prof. Francesco Masulli from the University of Genoa, Italy, gave a brief about the undergraduate programs specialized in AIR at the university. He talked about the interest of his research team at the university in using AI techniques and robotics in designing smart cities in different aspect like traffic management, security, healthcare, green environment and other fields.
For his part, Dr. Mario Rosenfelder from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, presented the experience of the Mechatronics Engineering Department at his university in teaching AIR subjects at the bachelor's level. He stated that the student takes approximately 30 credit hours in AIR fields in the last year. He indicated that the program’s success and importance attracted a large number of companies interested in working on joint projects with the department and hiring their graduates.
After that, Dr. Jorge Casillas from the University of Granada, Spain, spoke about the department of computer science and AI at his university and indicated that the program is considered one of the top 20 programs in the field of AI in Europe. He also presented the curriculum of the program and presented statistics that illustrate the importance of focusing on data science courses as well due to the increasing interest in this field.
On the other hand, Dr. Kevin McFall from NVIDIA, a leading company in the manufacture of accelerators used in AI applications, spoke about the educational resources and support that his company provides to those interested in these areas in terms of educational equipment, tools and workshops that can be used in developing educational content in AIR domain. He also talked about the company's policy to cooperate with universities in this field.
Also, Dr. Manal Jalloul from the American University in Beirut, Lebanon, also spoke about the AI LAB Foundation, which specializes in building capabilities in AI, in addition to its role in providing advice to industrial companies interested in taking advantage of the advanced technologies in AI.
Furthermore, Nacho Montoya from the Spanish company Emergya also spoke about using AI in creating enterprise solutions in various fields such as banking, security and protection, insurance, real estate and travel. He stated that these solutions play important roles in increasing the efficiency of the companies’ products and capabilities. Then he gave a detailed example of how to design voice assistant systems using artificial intelligence techniques.
Finally, Engineer Radi Al-Wardat from the Jordan Center for Design and Development spoke about the applications and research fields of the center and the importance of cooperation and partnership with specialized academic institutions to advance in this field.
The workshop concluded with discussion session during which the speakers answered the attendees’ questions. Also, a questionnaire was distributed to all attendees, including experts, students, academics and technicians, to survey the state of AIR in their countries and to benefit from their observations and experiences in designing and developing programs in AIR.