EOL Receives One Million Dollar Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

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The Smithsonian Institution has announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the International Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) Project, a project in which the BA is an integral partner, a one million dollar grant. The grant aims to establish a cooperation between EOL, IBM, and Georgia Institute of Technology in order to process and categorize a massive amount of data, facilitating access to scientific knowledge in an unprecedented manner.

EOL, launched in 2008 with the support of numerous institutions and organizations around the world, aims to collect and document information on all the world’s organisms, including plants, animals, and microorganisms, and provide a free, publically accessible online database of the documented information. Headquartered at the Smithsonian Institution, EOL has 357 international partners, most prominent of which are Harvard University and the BA. The project content has now reached two million pages, including 1.3 million pages of text, maps, video, audio and photographs that are offered in about 20 different languages.

IBM is contributing to the project, through the awarded grant, by providing a version of Watson, which is a supercomputer uses artificial intelligence to allow users to ask questions in plain language.

It is worth mentioning that the BA is constantly working on enriching EOL with Arabic content in order to create a rich, scientific resource of biodiversity information for Arabic speakers. It also uses its technical experience and knowledge to internationalize the system and reconstruct the foundation of EOL, enabling users to browse through and interact with the project’s content in various languages.