City of Barcelona Award for the researcher Marta Villegas for the AINA and MarIA natural language processing projects

30 January 2023

The City of Barcelona Award in the category of experimental sciences and technology goes to these initiatives that seek to preserve linguistic heritage.

The researcher at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center-Centro Nacional de Supercomputación Marta Villegas has won the City of Barcelona Award 2022 in the category of experimental sciences and technology for the construction and development of natural language processing models for Catalan and Spanish, AINA and Maria, respectively.

The jury considers that these projects "represent a decisive step in the preservation of the linguistic heritage of both languages in the Internet space, as well as progress in language technologies".

Marta Villegas is grateful for the recognition and for “working in an exciting field, with an extraordinary team and an unbeatable environment like the BSC. AINA and MarIA explore where language and artificial intelligence meet and they do so at a time when research in this field has taken a disruptive leap and allows us to do things previously unthinkable. We still have many challenges ahead and, fortunately, AINA and MarIA give us the necessary means to assume them and ensure the positioning of our languages in the digital and research world”.

The awards ceremony will take place on February 15 at a ceremony at the Saló de Cent.

  • Note from Barcelona City Council here (in Catalan).
  • Watch the award ceremony video here.

About Aina

AINA is a project led by BSC that is based on data technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) with the ultimate goal of making technology understand and speak Catalan, so that citizens can fully participate in the digital world in Catalan.

AINA is promoted by the Secretariat for Digital Policies of the Government of Catalonia and is part of the Spanish government's Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTE) of the New Language Economy.

Related information:

About MarIA

MarIA is the massive artificial intelligence system and expert in understanding and writing in Spanish language, created at BSC from the web archives of the National Library of Spain (BNE). It is framed and funded by the Language Technologies Plan of the State Secretariat for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence (SEDIA).

Related information here.