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UCC lecturer receives $30k Google research grant for Artificial Intelligence

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One of the lecturers in the University of Cape Coast’s Department of Mathematics has been awarded a research grant from Google in the amount of $30,000 to continue their work in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).

Dr. Stephen Moore, who is also a co-founder of Ghana Natural Language Processing (Ghana NLP), was the recipient of this prize, which was intended to stimulate research into natural language processing (NLP) in low-resource languages in Ghana and Africa.

Natural Language Processing is a subfield of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that focuses on the ways in which computers can process language in a manner analogous to that of humans.

Since the year 2020, Dr. Moore and his colleagues at Ghana NLP have been working on producing translation tools for low-resource languages like Twi, Dagbani, Ewe, Ga, Guruni, and Igbo, amongst others. These systems can translate both text and speech.

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Dr. Moore highlighted the current state of the art of NLP development in Ghana as well as the prospects the country would gain by teaching and developing young people for the future at the reopening of Google’s new headquarters in Accra, Ghana, in 2022. The office was located in Ghana.

Dr. Moore  introduced the first Ghanaian language translator, known as Khaya, which was released by Ghana NLP with Algorine (a partner company of Ghana NLP).

The application uses advanced language models from natural language processing (NLP) to create a single translator for a number of African languages.

Google presented the donation as a token of appreciation for Ghana NLP’s contributions to the creation of such useful tools as well as the organization’s efforts to educate its volunteer workforce.

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Training, workshops, and seminars are some of the offerings that Ghana NLP provides as part of its mission to make NLP more accessible to Ghanaians. It is the first time that Google has presented an award of this kind to a scholar from Ghana.

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