Pakistan takes first step in Artificial Intelligence

Pakistan takes first step in Artificial Intelligence

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan government has allocated money of Rs1.1 billion for the period of three years to initiate project on Artificial Intelligence.

The project will be carried out under the supervision of Higher Education Commission (HEC). The HEC shortlisted six public sector universities to set up nine labs to carry out research in the field of IA.

Earlier, in 2017 a group of engineers proposed to the HEC that an expression of interest be sought from universities around the country having a CS program with at least a W-rating, accredited by National Computing Education Accreditation Council (NCEAC).

According to this proposal, fifty best universities should be selected based on multiple KPIs e.g. quality of faculty engaged, quality of infrastructure and industry academia collaborations, etc.

As per the proposal, specialised streams of CS with focus on artificial intelligence can then be initialised. First two batches, each having an annual input of 200 students at all these selected institutions should be funded for the entire length of the program i.e. four years. Each student should get subsidy of Rs200,000 per annum. Students will be selected based on their merit in FSc or equivalent.

Other than funding the student body, faculty salaries should also be subsidised to encourage high quality human resource to engage in development of the program. It is proposed that each university receives a funding of Rs10 million in terms of subsidy for PhD qualified faculty and Rs5 million for MS qualified faculty.

In terms of ICT-related infrastructure support, each university should be funded a total of Rs10 million to set up a state of the art artificial intelligence lab to support the new program. This is a total financial layout of Rs3.25 billion for the first year. However, the Planning Commission approved Rs1.1 billion for this project for the next three fiscal years.

Dr Yasir Ayaz from National University of Science and Technology (NUST) who has been appointed as head of this project by the HEC while talking to The News said realising the importance of AI , the government has taken a good initiative.