King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Concludes the KAUST IT Summit

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KAUST IT Summit brought together world experts in computer science, e-science and data-intensive supercomputing to focus on key global IT Trends affecting capacity to conduct world-class research.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) concluded the KAUST IT Summit on October 29, which brought together world experts in computer science, e-science and data-intensive supercomputing to discuss the digital infrastructure needed to support world-leading research in the next 10 to 15 years.

"KAUST is in the unique position of building our IT systems from the ground up, so it is essential that we collaborate with global IT experts from the public and private sectors to ensure that we create an infrastructure that will support KAUST researchers in Saudi Arabia, the region and the world," said KAUST Interim CIO Majid Al-Ghaslan.

The IT Summit demonstrates KAUST's commitment to convening the best scientific and technological minds to ensure that the University can support the enrichment of the Kingdom's human capital and transform the nation into a knowledge economy.

IT Summit's participants included world-renowned IT thought leaders from leading universities, businesses and research institutions, as well as officials from KAUST and other guests from the Kingdom.

"Academia plays a critical role in the global economy -- pushing forward the boundaries of knowledge and driving innovation," said Dr. Tony Hey, corporate vice president for External Research, Microsoft Research, and a panelist at the Summit. "It is great to see KAUST's commitment to building a research university to inspire the next generation of scientists and technologists."

"The amount of reliable, scalable processing power at KAUST could be a boon to researchers worldwide," commented CTO, Dr. Werner Vogels who also participated in the event.

The IT Summit's main panelist sessions focused on three key areas: Current and future trends in computationally intensive science and engineering research; future cyberinfrastructure needs and a vision for industry and academia; and strategies for enhancing KAUST's role in research information technology and e-science, taking into consideration KAUST's mission, goals, and unique circumstances.

"Through my research and being on campus everyday," said Director of Calit2 UC San Diego, Ramesh R. Rao. "I know the communications challenges that today's universities face and I enjoyed discussing how KAUST can avoid them from the very beginning."

"Once KAUST builds its IT infrastructure, the University could be uniquely positioned to unite the region's researchers to the global academic community as never before," concluded Dr. Lawrence Roberts, Founder, CEO and President, Anagran.

Featured event participants included:

  • Dr. Mohammed Al-Suwaiyel, President of KACST and former Governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission
  • Mr. Merwyn (Merv) Andrade, CTO, Aruba Networks
  • Dr. Jack Breese, Former Director for Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington (Program Co-Chair)
  • Mr. Charlie Catlett, CIO, Argonne National Laboratory, Executive Director of the TeraGrid project, Chair of Global Grid Forum, and the Director of the I-WIRE optical network consortium
  • Dr. Usama Fayyad, Chief Data Officer and Executive Vice President, Research and Strategic Data Solutions, Yahoo!
  • Prof. Omar Ghattas, Professor of Geological Sciences and Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin
  • Dr. Garth Gibson, CTO, Panasas, and Associate Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Dr. Lutz Heuser, Chief Development Architect and Vice President of Corporate Research, SAP AG
  • Dr. Tony Hey, Corporate Vice President of External Research, Microsoft
  • Prof. Ron Johnson, CTO, Vice President and CIO, Vice Provost, University of Washington
  • Prof. Peter Lee, Vice Provost for Research and Head of Computer Science Department, Carnegie Mellon (Program Chair)
  • Dr. Ibrahim Al Mishari, Former VP, Saudi Aramco
  • Dr. Rob Pennington, CTO, National Center for Supercomputing Applications
  • Prof. Ramesh Rao, Director, UCSD Division Calit2
  • Dr. Danny Allen Reed, Director, Renaissance Computing Institute
  • Dr. Lawrence Roberts, Founder, CEO and President, Anagram; respected as one of the 'founding fathers of the Internet'
  • Dr. Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer,

For more information about KAUST and the IT Summit, visit

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