IBM and KACST Unveil Research Pact to Advance Machine Translation Technology and IP Development

Collaboration to also Create National Center for Women Engineers

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - 16 Nov 2009: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), the Saudi Arabian national research and development organization, today announced a multi-year agreement to collaborate on advancing machine translation technologies, advancing intellectual property development and establishing a National Women Software Development Centre. Under terms of the agreement, KACST will purchase an IBM Blue Gene supercomputer to enable KACST scientists to perform complex simulations and computational modeling.

This agreement is one of several joint research projects undertaken between KACST and IBM.

Machine Translation Technologies

IBM researchers, business consultants and KACST scientists will work together to further enhance the IBM Machine Translation Engine into a powerful translation engine to translate Arabic to other languages. This project deals with natural language analysis and computational methods for language translation. Technologies used for machine translation, such as syntactic parsing and word sense disambiguation, are commonly used in other applications of natural language processing.

IBM will provide education services to KACST researchers on the functionality and features of statistical machine translation technology which was invented by the IBM Research team. IBM's Research and Development team will build the machine translation system with the initial basic system capabilities of several million words that will form the basis of the translation learning process. During this stage of the project, the IBM team will design, construct, and test the machine translation application based on the existing IBM Translation Engine tool.

Intellectual Property Development

As part of the collaboration, IBM will apply its patent and intellectual property management expertise to help KACST develop tools and processes to effectively turn its inventions into patents, manage its intellectual property portfolio and maximize opportunities for commercialization of its R&D breakthroughs in global markets. This IP management initiative supports KACST's overarching goal to foster a prosperous innovation culture and create a thriving business ecosystem based on innovation.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is committed to building a vibrant knowledge-based society that advances scientific research and promotes technology transfer between research institutes and industry," said Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammad Al Saud, Vice President for Research Institutes, KACST. "Our relationship with IBM -- a leading global technology company, world-renowned research organization, and intellectual property policy leader with unparalleled IP capitalization expertise -- will enable KACST to accelerate our research and development goals."

Specifically, IBM's Intellectual Property and Licensing team will provide methodologies and guidelines for developing a patent filing and portfolio management strategy that is consistent with KACST's objectives.

"Strategic Intellectual Property management and innovation drives long-term sustainable growth in today's knowledge-based economy," said Takreem El Tohamy, Country General Manager, IBM Middle East & North Africa. "Working together in these advanced areas of scientific research and intellectual property will expand the impact of IBM's thought leadership in emerging markets and open new business opportunities for KACST."

National Women Software Development Centre

IBM and KACST will collaborate on establishing a national Software Development Center aimed at becoming a world-class organization with highly-skilled female specialists acting as a catalyst for the growth of the software development industry in the Kingdom, and delivering solutions to domestic and global clients.

The Center will create a unique opportunity for female Saudi software professionals to grow their technical skills while providing high-quality services and products to local and global clients. The staff will benefit from a hands-on training environment as well as the opportunity to draw on best practices from IBM under the initial mentorship of accomplished IBM scientists.


IBM will continue to work with KACST in the field of nanotechnology. In February, 2008, IBM and KACST signed a multi-year joint research agreement where scientists from IBM and KACST are working side-by-side at the IBM Research labs in Yorktown Heights, NY and Almaden, CA and the KACST / IBM Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The IBM Blue Gene supercomputer which KACST will purchase as part of the new R&D agreement will enable advances in nanotechnology projects related to the critical areas of energy, water and materials. In the area of renewable energy, KACST and IBM are jointly developing an Ultra-High Concentrator Photovoltaic Technology (UHCPV) that can operate at a target of 2000 suns concentration. They will also work together to develop a thin film Silicon photovoltaic (PV) technology that seeks to reduce the cost of PV by reducing the amount of Silicon used, as well as to utilize arbitrary substrates rather than expensive silicon wafers. In the area of water, KACST and IBM are working on new nanomembranes for water filtration and desalination that show greatly improved performance over current technologies (


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