Award for Abdulrahman Alsayed from the Alan Turing Institute

24 October 2022

The School of Modern Languages warmly congratulates postgraduate researcher Abdulrahman A. A. Alsayed (PhD candidate in Language and Linguistics) on his selection to receive the highly competitive Turing Community Enrichment Award from the Alan Turing Institute in London.

The award, which is open to PhD candidates from universities across the United Kingdom, offers recipients a grant to support their PhD research activities and the opportunity to engage in inter-disciplinary collaborations through interest groups within the Turing community working on research related to areas such as humanities and data science, natural language processing, and social data science. The Turing's academic recruitment noted the extremely high competition for the award this year.

The Alan Turing Institute is the United Kingdom's national institute for data science and artificial intelligence. Envisioned as a collaborative research hub, the institute works across disciplines with no departmental divides, encompassing expertise ranging from computer science and statistics to social science, and the humanities. The institute is named after renowned mathematician Alan Turing who is regarded as the grandfather of computer science and artificial intelligence.

Commenting on his selection for the award, Abdulrahman said: "I greatly value this opportunity to benefit from the resources offered by one of the leading research institutes in the world and to work with its community network on collaborative projects with the aim of enriching my PhD research in linguistics. During my time at the Turing, I intend to seek innovative approaches to linguistic enquiry informed by cutting-edge findings in the areas of data science and artificial intelligence."

In his PhD project, Abdulrahman uses speech corpora to study the interaction between syntax and information structure through investigating how the shared information among speakers is encoded in the structure of their sentences. His recent work explores the utilization of immersive virtual reality (VR) to document speech in low-resource modern language varieties. Speech samples are collected from members of speech communities belonging to these varieties with the help of contextual stimuli naturalistically delivered to multiple speakers in replicable virtual environments. The collected samples are compiled in embodied linguistic corpora which show the environmental embodiment of language speakers through the mediation of virtual reality and allow for a context-based analysis of linguistic phenomena.

In addition to his research activities, Abdulrahman currently serves as the School's PGR representative, CEED's coordinator for the academic skills training program at the School, and the linguistics catalyst representative in SGSAH's Doctoral Research Committee.