KWASU Lecturer Awarded Research Grant to Develop AI Models for Nigerian Languages

Abdulwaheed Musa, a lecturer at Kwara State University (KWASU), has received a national research fund (NRF) grant to create artificial intelligence (AI) language models based on the linguistic features of main Nigerian languages.

Musa, who is head of the department of electrical and computer engineering at KWASU, recently announced the feat in a post via X.

“My team and I have been awarded a National Research Fund (NRF) Grant to develop advanced machine (deep) learning models and algorithms for Natural Language Processing (NLP) tailored to the linguistic characteristics of major Nigerian languages,” Musa wrote.

“In the next two years, I’ll be working with an amazing team across Nigeria (and beyond) to train my mentees and students, especially those in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and selected Nigerian languages.”

Natural language processing (NLP) is an area of artificial intelligence that allows computers to understand, synthesize, and alter human language.

In an interview with TheCable, Musa stated that the project, which has the potential to significantly impact the field of machine translation and contribute to the development of AI technologies in Nigeria, will produce “a well-developed AI translator”.

The lecturer also stated that he and his colleagues will begin by constructing learning models and algorithms for Nigeria’s three primary languages—Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo.

“The outcomes of the research project are expected to enhance language accessibility and inclusivity in Nigeria, as well as foster cultural preservation and socio-economic development,” he said.

“The project will advance the field of natural language processing and machine translation, leading to more sophisticated AI language models with broader applications beyond translation.”

Musa, who is also the head of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Systems (CAMS), expressed his optimism that the research will spur the growth of language-related startups and enterprises, thereby creating job possibilities and encouraging entrepreneurship in language technology.


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