On 24 June, Nazarbayev University hosted a conference in honor of Akhmet Baitursynuly’s 150th anniversary, which was attended by the ministers of science and higher education of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan.
Akhmet Baitursynuly was a renowned Kazakh intellectual, educator, poet, and Turkologist whose works played a significant role in the Turkic scientific community. One of Akhmet Baitursynuly’s remarkable accomplishments is the development and reform of the Kazakh alphabet in the early 20th century. He is also known for reforming the education system, founding the first university in Kazakhstan, being one of the leaders of the “Alash” movement, and laying the foundations of Kazakh linguistics.
“The origins of linguistics, literary studies, and teaching methods lie in the works of Ahmet Baitursynuly. His scientific concepts are still widely used in the teaching process and scientific direction. And today, in the formation of the new alphabet, in terminology formation and language teaching, we cannot but turn to his works”, said Minister of Science and Higher Education of Kazakhstan Sayasat Nurbek during his speech.
As part of the conference, the ministers of science and higher education of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan visited ISSAI labs. There, they were given a presentation on ISSAI’s AI projects on natural speech processing, such as the Kazakh Speech Corpus, the Kazakh text-to-speech technology, the Uzbek Speech Corpus, and the Turkish Speech Corpus.
ISSAI researchers also reported on the new project that they are currently working on – multilingual automatic speech recognition for Turkic languages. The aim of this project is to create a unified multilingual model for ten Turkic languages: Azerbaijani, Bashkir, Chuvash, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Turkish, Uyghur, Uzbek, and Yakut. The project will help popularise the use of Turkic languages in the digital world and assist lower-resourced Turkic languages to benefit from the other, higher-resourced, languages in the same language family.
In his speech, Minister of Science and Higher Education of Kazakhstan Sayasat Nurbek praised ISSAI for its work and pointed out the importance of projects related to the development of the Kazakh language in the digital sphere.