Dr. Ahmed Ali | Hamad Bin Khalifa University
Hamad Bin Khalifa University


Dr. Ahmed Ali

Dr. Ahmed Ali

Principal Engineer
Arabic Language Technologies
Qatar Computing Research Institute

  • Phone44 541 440
  • Office locationRC-B1-1134


Dr. Ahmed Ali is a Principal Engineer at the Arabic Language Technologies group (ALT) at the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI). He is the founder of Arabic Speech at ALT . His work interests are in the area of speech recognition and natural language processing. Dr. Ali completed his PhD at the University of Edinburgh and BSc at Cairo University. He joined QCRI in 2011. Prior to joining QCRI, Dr. Ali worked for Nuance in Cambridge, UK from 2009-2011, SpinVox (Marlow, startup) 2006-2009, and spent six years at different IBM labs prior to that, including two years at Watson, USA. 

His current research on speech recognition has led to the development of state-of-the-art multi-dialect Arabic speech recognition: QCRI Advanced Transcription System (QATS). Al-Jazeera, DW and BCC have all used QATS to transcribe their online content. Dr. Ali’s team won first place in the worldwide MGB-2 speech recognition competition. He also received the prestigious Qatar Foundation Best Innovation Award in 2018.


Research Interests

  • Speech recognition and natural language processing with special attention to dialectal Arabic speech and text processing.
  • Recent focus has been on dialect detection. i.e can we recognize the spoken dialect using acoustic and linguistic cues.
  • Evaluating speech recognition for dialects with no orthographic rules and prediction for quality estimation for automatic speech processing systems.


Principal Engineer


February 2016 to Present
  • Senior Software Engineer


    August 2011 to February 2016
  • Speech Recognition Engineer

    Nuance, Cambridge, UK

    December 2009 to August 2011
  • Speech Recognition Engineer

    Spinvox, Marlow, Cambridge UK

    March 2006 to December 2009
  • Speech Recognition Engineer

    IBM-Watson Research Center, USA

    2003 - 2005
  • Software Engineer

    IBM, Cairo, Egypt

    2000 - 2006



University of Edinburgh, Scotland/UK

2014 - 2017
  • BSC

    Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University; Cairo/Egypt

    1994 - 2000

Selected Publications

  • Yonatan Belinkov, Ahmed Ali and James Glass; Analyzing Phonetic and Graphemic Representations in End-to-End Automatic Speech Recognition

    InterSpeech 2019

  • Yasser Hifny and Ahmed Ali; Efficient Arabic Emotion Recognition Using Deep Neural Networks

    ICASSP 2019

  • Suwon Shon, Ahmed Ali and James Glass; Domain Attentive Fusion for End-to-end Dialect Identification with Unknown Target Domain

    ICASSP 2019

  • Ahmed Ali and Steve Renals; Word error rate estimation for speech recognition

    e-WER; ACL 2018

  • Ahmed Ali, Najim Dehak, Patrick Cardinal, Sameer Khurana, Sree Yella, James Glass, Peter Bell and Steve Renals

    Automatic Dialect Detection in Arabic Broadcast Speech; InterSpeech 2016