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“Digital Day” at Nazarbayev University

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On Saturday, September 14th Nazarbayev University hosted the high-level event “Digital Day” to announce important new initiatives in the sphere of digitalization. The invitation-only event was organized in support of the Digital Kazakhstan national initiative and was attended by senior government policy makers, industry leaders, and a select group of professors and students.

The program included a panel discussion, led by NU President Shigeo Katsu, on the topic of “The Future of AI in Kazakhstan”, with special emphasis on the role of Nazarbayev University and NU’s future projects in the field of Artificial intelligence which are planned in partnership with the World Bank and the United Arab Emirates.

The occasion also featured the formal launch of the new book “The Next Master of the World: Artificial Intelligence”, with a presentation by the author, the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Karim Massimov, a follow-on discussion with the audience and a book signing opportunity.

The final session focused on the new School of Engineering and Digital Sciences as the key enabler of AI applications with active research groups in key subject areas such as Autonomous Systems, Robotics & Mechatronics, Machine Learning, Sensor Networks, Big Data, and Data Science. Dean Vassilios Tourassis described the mission of the School in terms of developing the necessary human capital and facilitating major digitalization initiatives in Kazakhstan. The School is expected to develop  interdisciplinary integration amongst programs and departments with redesigned curricula preparing  graduates for the digital age. Professor Michael Lewis then presented the new graduate program in Data Science, which was designed in consultation with government and industry partners, based on the best-practice models from the world’s leading programs. Finally, Dr. Atakan Varol, Chair of the Department of Robotics and Mechatronics, announced the formal launch of the Institute of Smart Systems and Artificial Intelligence (ISSAI). The ISSAI project was mandated by the First President Nursultan Nazarbayev requesting the University to serve as a driver of innovation in the digital sphere.  Dr. Varol noted that ISSAI represents a framework for collaboration, and described the means by which any qualified organization or researcher could become affiliated with the Institute.

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The Digital Day concluded with a signing ceremony of a joint Memorandum of Understanding between ISSAI and the Eurasian Resources Group (ERG), outlining mutual interests and a plan for joint research and development projects in the field of Smart Industry and Artificial Intelligence.

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