Faculty member’s research on natural language processing earned him the 2023 President’s Distinguished Research Award
Every year, select faculty members are recognized and awarded either for their achievements at University of Houston-Clear Lake, within the community, or both. Among the honorees for 2023 was Hisham Al-Mubaid, a professor of computer science and computer systems in the College of Science and Engineering. Al-Mubaid received the 2023 President’s Distinguished Research Award as a testament to his professional triumphs throughout his tenure at UH-Clear Lake. This award recognizes professional feats in a discipline or field through published work, exhibitions, or similar activity, as recognized by peers for high contribution to the intellectual growth of an academic area.
Al-Mubaid’s colleagues can attest to his extraordinary academic accomplishments. “He has been very active in all aspects of research and scholarly activities, including producing high-quality publications, developing grant proposals, helping graduate and undergraduate students to develop their research skills, etc.,” one of his fellow professors said. Many of his students also shared positive feedback, describing him as a “respected” professor, “a good helper,” and “very sincere and keen about student learning.”
He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Dallas with a Distinguished Dissertation Award in 2000 and began teaching at UH-Clear Lake the following year. He served as chair of Computer Information Systems (CIS) from 2009-2015. Since 2000, he has had nearly 100 works published on a wide range of topics, including word sense disambiguation, data mining, and most recently, functional annotation of disease genes for disease clustering.
Today, his research interests focus on natural language processing and bioinformatics, including data mining, machine learning, and biomedical text mining. He is actively working to prove the virtue of the context-based approach to natural language processing (NLP). He developed several algorithms and systems to prove the point, including detecting and correcting context-based errors, word prediction, word classification, text categorization, biomedical term disambiguation, and document clustering.
“Both Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) exist under the umbrella of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is a subject that I like,” he said. “I like this subject (AI) because it wants to simulate or imitate human thinking (natural intelligence) in solving problems; as you know, nowadays, AI is the most important topic in the world. Bioinformatics is also one of my favorite areas of science, and it also adapts and imports from AI.”
Students and community members have benefited from Al-Mubaid’s expertise, as he gives at least one technical presentation annually. He also developed four new courses for the university, but his contributions to the UHCL community didn’t end there. He also secured funding for five external grants and received an S-STEM grant from the National Science Foundation for just under $1 million. As a result, students who needed financial assistance could complete their education and pursue a STEM-related profession.
For more information about the President's Distinguished Faculty Awards, visit www.uhcl.edu/human-resources/service-awards/.