Fatmah Baothman, the first woman in the Middle East with a PhD in AI

Fatmah Baothman
Updated 30 October 2019

Fatmah Baothman, the first woman in the Middle East with a PhD in AI

  • Dr. Fatmah Baothman played a vital role in establishing King Abdul Aziz University’s computer science department for women, and became the first appointed teaching assistant in the department

Jeddah-born Dr. Fatmah Baothman is the first woman in the Middle East with a Ph.D. in modern artificial intelligence (AI).
Her AI journey started when she was a student at the University of Arizona studying English. She was introduced to computer systems that help non-native English speakers. The level of machine communication and interaction fascinated her.
In 2003, she graduated from the School of Computing and Engineering at the University of Huddersfield in the UK, where she obtained a Ph.D. in phonology-based automatic speech recognition for Arabic. Her work primarily focused on AI, and she was exposed to forecasting, pattern recognition, phonology and phonetics, acoustics, machine learning and mathematics.
She is the first Middle Eastern woman to have won two international awards in AI from the US and the UK.  She has been a guest speaker and moderator at many regional and global technology forums. She has authored several books on AI, and her articles have been published in magazines and scientific journals.
Baothman has also translated a book on modern AI to help Arabic speakers gain a better understanding of the subject.
Baothman has held several positions, among them Apple center manager, director of the education sector at King Abdullah Economic City, director of the E-learning Researcher Program in Dubai, deputy director of the information technology (IT) center at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU), and president of the Women Engineers Committee at the Saudi Council of Engineering.
She has worked at KAU for more than 25 years as an assistant professor in computing and IT. She has recently been appointed as the board president of the Artificial Intelligence Society.
She played a vital role in establishing KAU’s computer science department for women, and became the first appointed teaching assistant in the department.


King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

Updated 21 November 2019

King Salman urges Iran to junk its expansionist ideology

  • Saudi Arabia has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies, king says
  • Kingdom also welcomed US decision to return Iran's Fordow nuclear facility to its sanctions list

RIYADH: Iran should abandon its expansionist ideology that has only “harmed” its own people, Saudi Arabia's King Salman said on Wednesday, following violent street protests in the Islamic republic.

A wave of demonstrations erupted in the sanctions-hit country on Friday after an announcement that petrol prices would be raised by as much as 200 percent with immediate effect.

“We hope the Iranian regime chooses the side of wisdom and realizes there is no way to overcome the international position that rejects its practices, without abandoning its expansionist and destructive thinking that has harmed its own people,” the king told the consultative Shoura Council.

“The kingdom has suffered from the policies and practices of the Iranian regime and its proxies,” King Salman said, quoted by the foreign ministry, reiterating that Riyadh does not seek war but is “ready to defend its people.”

A satellite image from Sept. 15, 2017, of the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran. (Google Earth)

Saudi Arabia has welcomed Washington's decision to return the Fordow nuclear facility in Iran to the sanctions list. 

Washington said on Monday that it will no longer waive sanctions related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the underground site. 

“The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero ... There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters earlier this week.