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Google awards a $30k research grant to a UCC lecturer for artificial intelligence

A lecturer at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), specifically, the Department of Mathematics has been awarded a $30,000 Google research grant to carry out Artificial Intelligence research (AI) research.

The award was granted to Dr Stephen Moore, who is also a co-founder of Ghana Natural Language Processing (Ghana NLP), to accelerate research in natural language processing (NLP) in low-resource languages in Ghana and Africa.

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Natural Language Processing is a branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is focused on how computers can process languages as humans do.

Since 2020, Dr Moore and his colleagues at Ghana NLP have been developing tools for both text and speech translation of low-resource languages including Twi, Dagbani, Ewe, Ga, Guruni, Igbo, etc.

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At the re-opening of Google’s new office in Accra, Ghana, in 2022, Dr Moore presented the state of the art of NLP development in Ghana and the opportunities the country will gain by training and developing young people for the future.

He presented the first Ghanaian Language translator; Khaya, that has been launched by Ghana NLP together with Algorine (a partner company of Ghana NLP).

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The app uses state-of-the-art language models from NLP with the ambition to create a unified translator for several languages in Africa.

Google gave the gift in recognition of Ghana NLP’s efforts towards both development of such important tools and the training of volunteers at Ghana NLP. 

Ghana NLP is a social enterprise seeking to make NLP accessible to Ghanaians through training, workshops and seminars. It is the first of such awards Google has granted to any Ghanaian researcher.

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