MBZUAI appoints world-renowned leading AI academic – Professor Dr. Eric Xing as President

Abu Dhabi: The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), the world’s first graduate-level, research-based artificial intelligence (AI) university, has appointed renowned AI academic Professor Dr. Eric Xing as President. Professor Dr. Xing will lead MBZUAI as the first intake of graduate students is set to commence studies in January 2021 at the world’s first university and research institution dedicated solely to developing AI and AI solutions.

Dr. Xing takes the reins of MBZUAI from Interim President Professor Sir Michael Brady, who provided tremendous leadership since the launch of the university in October 2019 and remains on the MBZUAI Board of Trustees.

His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Chairman of the MBZUAI Board of Trustees, said: “We are excited to welcome Professor Dr. Xing as the president of MBZUAI. He is one of the world’s foremost academics in the field of AI, and an exceptional business leader who understands the practical application of artificial intelligence. We are confident that Professor Dr. Xing will bring immense expertise to MBZUAI and our ambitions in this industry.”

His Excellency added: “MBZUAI is focused on building the capabilities of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies, in line with the wise vision of the UAE’s leadership. Under the guidance of Professor Dr. Eric Xing, MBZUAI will accelerate these efforts through the development of human capital and a strong focus on research and partnerships, leading to economic and societal progress in the UAE and beyond.”

Ranked as one of the top computer science professors worldwide, Professor Dr. Xing joins MBZUAI from Carnegie Mellon University in the US, where he most recently served as Associate Department Head of Research at the Machine Learning Department, part of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science. Additionally, he is the Founding Director of the Center for Machine Learning and Health, Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Professor Dr. Xing has also spent time as Visiting Associate Professor at Stanford University, and as Visiting Research Professor at Facebook Inc.

A highly recognised and award-winning member of the AI community, the new MBZUAI President was presented with the Carnegie Science Award in 2019. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a Fellow on the Association of Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), and Member of the Board of the International Machine Learning Society.  Professor Dr. Xing’s areas of research interest lie in the development of machine learning and statistical methodology, and large-scale computational system and architecture, for solving problems involving automated learning, reasoning, and decision-making in high-dimensional, multimodal, and dynamic possible worlds in artificial, biological, and social systems. He has authored or contributed to more than 370 cited research papers and reports. His research has been cited more than 35,000 times by leading academics and academic journals. Professor Dr. Xing is also the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Scientist of Petuum, Inc, a US-based startup company that builds standardised artificial intelligence development platforms and operating systems for broad and general industrial AI applications. Under his leadership, Petuum has raised over $120 million funding since 2016 and was selected as a 2018 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer.

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Dr. Xing said: “Artificial intelligence is one of the most transformational technologies of our time, with the potential to have an immeasurable positive impact on economies, industries, and society. As President of MBZUAI, my vision is to build and enable a generation of leaders who have the necessary understanding, expertise, and skills to unlock the full potential of AI through academic research and industry applications. Through MBZUAI’s commitment to seeking new heights of excellence in AI education and research, we can contribute to achieving the ambitions of the UAE to use technology as a form of national empowerment, while also contributing to the greater good of global society. It is a privilege to have this opportunity to lead such a ground-breaking establishment, and do so in the UAE, a country that has made AI a strategic national priority.”

“We are determined to make the UAE a hub for the international AI community. MBZUAI welcomes leading researchers and innovators in all areas of AI from across the world who seek to be part of a dynamic, diverse, and meritocratic institution that provides unparalleled resources, environment, and boundless opportunities for personal growth and societal impact.”

Since launching in October 2019, MBZUAI has achieved several important milestones, including the completion of its state-of-the-art campus in Masdar City and the successful completion of its first admissions cycle. The university recently extended admission offers to 101 students for the first academic year commencing in January 2021, with nearly 90 per cent of the admitted students having already accepted their offers. Students accepted into the first cohort were selected from an elite group of 2,223 applicants of 97 different nationalities. Admitted students come from 31 countries.

MBZUAI’s MSc and PhD programmes in Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, and Machine Learning are now accepting applications for the Fall 2021 academic year intake. These programmes will be taught by a world-class faculty, overseen by the University’s Board of Trustees, which comprises internationally renowned experts in the field of AI. Eligible students must have a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field in order to be considered for MBZUAI’s MSc and Ph.D. programmes. Full admissions requirements can be found on MBZUAI’s website, http://www.mbzuai.ac.ae.

Prospective graduate students can apply to MBZUAI via the university’s website. Admissions for the Fall 2021 cohort closes on 15 April 2021. Early admission by 15 January 2021 is recommended for international students.