Islamabad – Dr Faisal Shafait, one of the excelling researchers at National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), has created history by earning the “International Association for Pattern Recognition Young Scientist Award for 2019” in Sydney, Australia during the 15th International Conference on Document Analysis & Recognition (ICDAR). This is the first time that this prestigious award has been conferred upon a Muslim scientist, making Dr Shafait the first Pakistani and Muslim scientist to achieve the highest level of recognition in this field of research. The international award is biennially conferred upon the most outstanding young scientist worldwide in the field of Pattern Recognition & Document Analysis. Since 1997, the award has been given to world-class researchers from the United States, Germany, China, Japan, Korea, Spain, Norway and India.
Dr Shafait is currently serving in the Department of Computing at NUST School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (SEECS). There are several major contributions to his credit in the development of automated reading systems for under-resourced languages and scripts. A major challenge faced by Pakistan is the low literacy rate of 60%. His pioneering work on deep learning-based Urdu reading systems can impact the lives of about 100 Million illiterate people in Pakistan by enabling them to read by using hand-held imaging devices, such as smartphones. His work has been adopted worldwide as evident by over 5,000 citations of his papers. The algorithms developed by Dr Shafait are also a part of Google’s open source text recognition framework, Tesseract, which is used by thousands of developers worldwide for building reading applications.