More than 70 AUB faculty members, visitors, librarians, as well as professionals and researchers from universities and institutions across Lebanon gathered on the morning of Thursday, January 4, 2018 at West Hall, Auditorium B, to attend a discussion about “Artificial Intelligence and Modernization of Arabic Language” by Mohammed Al-Sharekh, Chairman of the SAKHR Software Company.
The discussion was in Arabic and was moderated by Dr. Ghassan Mourad, Computational Linguistics professor at the Lebanese University.
The head of the Research and Instruction Services department at the University Libraries, Mrs. Fatmeh Charafeddine, welcomed the attendees and introduced Al-Sharekh
Mr. Al-Sharekh spoke about his journey of founding Sakhr Software Co. in 1982 and its achievements in developing technical solutions to meet the unique requirements of Arabic language. The company became a pioneer in introducing Arabic language to the computer and proceeded in developing solutions including an Arabic OCR software, an Arabic Natural Language Processing technique, an automated dictionary for modern and automated solutions for Arabic verb tenses and letter punctuation. Sakhr is the only company in the MENA to hold multiple US patents for Arabic computational linguistics.
Dr. Mourad commended al-Sharekh on his many achievements and highlighted the importance of Sakhr innovation and software, which, after all these years, still represent a valuable tool for modern-day computer/communication experts. Mourad inquired about the challenges that faced – and still do face- the company. Al-Sharekh explained that the company had to stop its activities due to the lack of support from governmental agencies in funding research activities and in protecting the company’s products from plagiarism.
Asked about what he was doing now, Al-Sharekh explained that he was working on collecting and digitizing an archive of Arabic intellectual journals and posting them online for the public to access and read.