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

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.
  • Reem Suwaileh (propective)
    • Reem had been working as a research assistant since July 2015 to August 2018 where she worked on ArTest and BigGraphs NPRP projects. Since then, her scholarly focus is on constructing Arabic datasets and test collections. She always had an interest in utilizing her knowledge in IR and data mining to advance Arabic IR. Additionally, her research interest involves social media analytics, specifically on real-time tweet tracking and summarization. She has been a regular member of Qatar University team participating at TREC since 2015, where her team was ranked second in 2015 and first in 2016 in real-time summarization track. Reem joined PhD program in 2018 at Qatar University and has been awarded GSRA research grant from QNRF to support her PhD study.
  • Marwa Essam (prospective)
    • Marwa got her BSc degree in Computer Science from FCIS, Ain Shams University, Egypt in 2002. She worked as a teaching assistant in FCIS for 6 years and got her MSc. degree in Mobile Agents Data Security in 2008. After that, she moved to Qatar with her family and worked for three years as and a teaching assistant and programming tutor at Carnegie Mellon University. During theoe years, she studied graduate courses in qualitative data analysis, advanced data mining, and business processing mining. Later, she worked in developing software systems for document management/tracking. In Spring 2018, she decided to pursue her academic dreams and started her PhD at Qatar University. While her research interests in Computer Science is vast, she finds herself consistently attracted to data science. During her PhD, Marwa hopes to work in the data science field and in particular, big data analytics.

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.

Former 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.
  • 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

  • Yassmine Barkallah
    • A QU computer science graduate. She joined the team in Sep 2017, working on the ArTest project. She contributed heavily to the first full paper of the team that is accepted at SIGIR 2018 and also to the test collection developed for Arabic Web search.
  • 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.
  • Abdelrahman Shouman
  • Abeer Almarridi
  • Fatma Almansouri (undergraduate)
  • Linah Lotfi (undergraduate)
  • Nada Aboeata (undergraduate)