bigIR is my research team at QU! The name stands for “Big Data and Informational Retrieval”. The team started with a single person (me!) in Fall 2012 when I joined QU, and has expanded since then to include postdocs, graduate students, research assistants, and undergraduate students. Working on several internally and externally-funded projects, the team is my close research family at QU!

Team Mission

Building a world-class research team that excels and competes at the international level with one clear goal, that is making a change and a contribution (that we will be proud of on the day of Judgment) towards the revival of our Muslim Ummah (إن شاء الله).

Current Team Members


  • Mucahid Kutlu
    • Dr. Mucahid received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Computer Science from Bilkent University in Turkey and PhD degree in Computer Science from Ohio State University under supervision of Dr. Gagan Agrawal. He has diverse research interests. He worked on natural language processing during his MS study, then focused on big data and high performance computing during his PhD. After graduation, he joined bigIR group at QU, working as a Postdoc on ArTest project since September 2015.

Ph.D. Students

  • Maram Hasanain
    • Maram acquired a BSc degree in computer Engineering from Qatar University in 2012. Starting from 2013 and while studying in the MSc in Computing program at Qatar University, she developed a passion towards the field of information retrieval with a specific focus on extraction of information from tweets. Since then, Maram has been continuously working on information retrieval tasks over tweets including search, query performance prediction, filtering, timeline generation, and question identification. Maram is a co-author of several published papers describing the systems developed for these tasks and she is currently pursuing a PhD degree in Computer Science at Qatar University. She is also working as a research assistant on ArQAT project.
  • Rana Malhas
    • Rana is currently a PhD student in CS at QU. She earned her MSc in CS from University of Sharjah (UAE), and her BSc in CS from University of Jordan. Rana has joined the Academia world in 2007 as a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at QU as she wanted to experience it before making the decision to pursue her PhD. It was natural that her research interests will be in Data Mining and Information Retrieval because she strongly believes that information is integral to decision making at macro as well as micro levels in any sector/field. Rana joined the bigIR team in 2013 which was the biggest driver for her to pursue her PhD in 2014. Her current research focus is on Question Answering systems that leverage IR, Big Data and Machine Learning tools.

M.Sc. Students

  • Sara Al-Rasbi
    • Sara got her degree of BSc in computer science in 2014 from Qatar University. In the same year, she started working in Qatar University Library as a Technology Specialist. With the goal of enhancing her knowledge and gain new skills that she could use to give back in her job, she started studying masters in Computing in 2016. Her interests lay in data science related fields like data mining and machine learning; in addition to big data.
  • Mona Alnaimi (University of Sharjah)
    • Mona is CS master student at university of Sharjah, and currently working on her thesis (supervised by Dr. Zaher Alaghbari, University of Sharjah). She worked as a teaching assistant for two years. She is interested in big data, data mining and information retrieval. She loves solving problems, helping others, and learning more. Mona hopes that someday she can add a valuable achievement to the world and rise up the name of Islam high in the CS field. She joined the team in December 2015.
  • Reem Suwaileh
    • After graduating with B.Sc. in computer science from QU in 2014, Reem joined the bigIR team and the Computing Master program a year later. She is currently working as a Research Assistant in the ArTest project. Her interest in Data Mining field was sparked by a course she took during her undergraduate years and was fortunate to do her undergraduate senior project on the same field. Her senior project also included Information Retrieval (IR) concepts where she got introduced to the IR field and grew her interest for it. She loves Arabic and ultimately hopes to utilize her interest in Data Mining and IR for advancing research related to Arabic IR.

Research Assistants

  • Rahma Ali
    • Rahma is a Computer Science graduate with a very curious mind and a passion for research. She joined the team in April 2016 and is currently working on the ArQAT project. A coding enthusiast with an unrelated list of interests including, but not limited to, Information Retrieval, Artificial Intelligence, and Software Development. On the personal side, she is a strong believer of ‘do what makes you happy’ mindset and can be found on Twitter @rsom19.

Former Team Members


  • Marwan Torki
    • Dr. Marwan​ is an Assistant Professor in the Computer and Systems Engineering Department at Alexandria University, Egypt. He received his BSc and MSc degrees from Alexandria University in 2003 and 2006 respectively. He received his PhD in Computer Science from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in Oct. 2011. His research interests are Computer Vision and Machine Learning.  He joined bigIR group as a postdoc in Aug 2015 working on ArQAT project.

M.Sc. Students

  • Latifa Almarri
    • Joined since December 2012
    • Graduated in Spring 2015
  • Hind Al-Merekhi
    • Hind earned her BSc degree in Computer Science from Qatar University in 2012 and got her MSc in Computing degree in 2016. She worked as a research assistant at Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) under the ALT group, and she is currently employed at Qatar Foundation Research and Development division. She is a sponsored student of Qatar Research and Leadership (QRLP) program. Her research interests include Information Retrieval, Data Mining, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and Arabic language technologies. Hobbies include art, creative designing in Photoshop, and mobile development. Hind joined the team in May 2014.

Research Assistants

    • Khaled Mohammad (undergraduate)
      • A senior computer science student. He joined the team in Mar 2016, working on the ArTest project, mainly on the implementation side. He is interested in both the theoretical part of computer science as well as the software development part.
    • Taofik Alnass (undergraduate)
      • A senior computer science student in his last semester. He joined bigIR team March 2016. He is mainly working on the software development side of the ArQAT project. He is interested in building software and learning new things. Find more about him on Twitter @TaofikAlNass.
    • Nihal Fathima
      • Nihal graduated in 2015 with BSc in Information Systems  from Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar. She has diverse research interests which includes Information Retrieval, Big Data, and Software development. Her interest in research grew due to to her love for learning and problem solving as well as her belief in giving back to the community. Nihal has been working with the team on ArTest project since September 2015.

    Abeer Almarridi

  • Abdelrahman Shouman
  • Fatma Almansouri (undergraduate)
  • Linah Lotfi (undergraduate)
  • Nada Aboeata (undergraduate)