KWASU Lecturer Secures National Research Fund Grant to Pioneer AI Language Models for Nigerian Languages

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Abdulwaheed Musa, Head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Kwara State University (KWASU), has been awarded a National Research Fund (NRF) grant to spearhead the creation of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) language models tailored to the linguistic nuances of major Nigerian languages.

Musa shared this significant achievement in a post on X, emphasizing the project’s focus on developing deep learning models and algorithms for Natural Language Processing (NLP) specifically designed for the linguistic characteristics of major Nigerian languages.

“Over the next two years, my team and I will collaborate with experts across Nigeria and beyond to train students, particularly those in Artificial Intelligence, in the intricacies of selected Nigerian languages,” said Musa.

Natural Language Processing (NLP), a vital aspect of AI, enables computers to comprehend, generate, and manipulate human language. Musa highlighted the project’s significance, stating it aims to contribute to the development of AI technologies in Nigeria by delivering a robust AI translator.

The initial phase of the project will concentrate on creating learning models and algorithms for three major Nigerian languages: Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo. Musa underlined the expected outcomes, stating, “The research project is anticipated to improve language accessibility and inclusivity in Nigeria, fostering cultural preservation and socio-economic development.”

“The project’s impact will extend to advancing natural language processing and machine translation, resulting in more sophisticated AI language models with applications beyond translation,” he added.

Musa, who directs the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Systems (CAMS), expressed his vision for the research to stimulate the emergence of startups and businesses dedicated to language technology. The ultimate goal is to create job opportunities and promote entrepreneurship within the language technology sector.

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