The KAUST IT Summit on 27-29th October 2007 under the heading “Next Generation Cyber-infrastructure”, makes it is evident that the winds of change have already begun.
17 of the world’s-experts in computer science, e-science, data intensive supercomputing and internet scale systems are set to meet in to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Notables including Prof. Peter Lee, Vice Provost for Research and Head of Computer Science Department, Carnegie Mellon; Dr. Jack Breese, Former Director for Microsoft Research and Dr. Lawrence Roberts, the “founding fathers of the Internet” as well as other IT leaders from leading universities, businesses and research institutions, including Amazon.com, Argonne National Laboratory, University of California – San Diego (UCSD), University of Washington, SAP and Yahoo!, will enjoy 3 days of high level visits and discussions with their Saudi counterparts including Nadhmi Al-Nasr, KAUST Interim President, Majid Al-Ghaslan, KAUST Interim CIO and Ahmad A. Al-Yamani, Director General, ICT Sector and Smart Cities Office, SAGIA the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority. The mixture of both industry and academia renowned experts makes this is a unique event and the first of its kind to be held in Saudi Arabia.
No doubt, computational science has now emerged as a third pillar of research, one that complements theory and experiment. This Summit will seek to address the trends in computational e-science, the challenges and requirements of information and communication technologies to support research and education at KAUST. It will also offer recommendations on how KAUST can be best positioned to participate in next generation data-centric super computing among others.
“To create a world-class research institution, we must ensure that we have the next-generation infrastructure to support the computing and communications needs of all of our academic programs and research for the next decade,” said KAUST’s Interim CIO Majid Alghaslan.
With the King as patron, backings of pioneers such as Saudi Aramco, the directives of one of the most powerful government officials in the kingdom Ali Al-Naimi, Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, strengthen with an unprecedented level of independence, this University no doubt is set to realize a vision King Abdullah has held during the last quarter of a century. A country known for importing technology for too long may in future start to export.
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