Researcher Wins Google Research Award

Birzeit University computer science professor Mustafa Jarrar has won Google’s Faculty Research Award in the field of natural language processing.

Jarrar received a grant of $50,000 to help further develop and support his research and enable him launch an online portal comprised of a large number of Arabic lexicons.

“I am looking forward to launching the online portal in the upcoming months,” Jarrar said. “In the last couple years, I have done extensive research and digitized a vast number of Arabic lexicons and more than 140 dictionaries. My goal is to enable users - individuals, researchers and developers - to search and use this unified lexicon.”

The online portal of lexicons is made up of the morphological and semantic classification of antonyms. Its dictionaries are made up of the largest classical and modern general and specialized dictionaries. All entries will be linked to an external source and be semantically linked through concepts in the Arabic ontology.

Jarrar explained that the idea of developing a large-scale, multilingual and open Arabic lexical database emerged from the urgent need for such a resource. The lack of such a resource is hampering scientific and technological advances in Arabic support for various applications. In addition, students and normal internet users have no online lexicons available to them.

Jarrar thanked Google for granting him this award and for its continued interest in supporting Arabic. “It is our responsibility as a university to play a key role in responding to our society’s needs and to provide innovative solutions beneficial to the growing base of Arabic technology users worldwide.”