Conference promotes science, technology, and innovation with case studies from the MENA region
Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) recently sponsored the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) SciTech Conference 2019, held at the Samberg Conference Center in the United States, under the theme of Envisioning the Future: Cities of MENA.
Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) and the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) represented HBKU – this year’s Gold Sponsor – at the annual conference. The event drew leading technology experts and provided a fertile ground for exchanging ideas and nurturing potential, while maintaining relevance to the region.
Throughout the three-day event, held from April 19-21, representatives from CSE and QCRI engaged in a series of panel discussions, workshops, and question-and-answer sessions.
Sofiane Abbar, a senior software engineer and researcher, participated in the 'Data-Driven Decisions' panel discussion, highlighting QCRI’s unwavering commitment to using AI in advancing public transportation systems. Mashael Alsabah, a scientist, spoke on ‘Digital Infrastructure: Blockchain and Other Technologies’, elaborating on QCRI-led research on blockchain transactions and how they can be used to combat e-crimes, including fraud schemes and money laundering.
Additionally, Abdulaziz Al-Homaid, a research associate at QCRI, was a panel participant on ‘Smart Cities: The Digital Bureaucracy’, and posed important questions on whether digitization is the only path to a smart city. Majd Abbar, director of commercialization and business development, presented QCRI’s cutting-edge research work.
Dr. Amine Bermak, professor and associate dean at CSE, was part of a perceptive discussion on the college’s work with sensors and their applicability to the Internet of Things (IoT).
The SciTechTalks portion of the event provided an opportunity for QCRI and CSE representatives to showcase HBKU-led projects that are exploiting innovation to drive transformation in the region. Students from CSE actively contributed to the IDEAthon – a three-day session incepted to evoke novel ideas and provide ample networking opportunities.
Dr. Bermak said: “It was an honor to represent HBKU and Qatar on a global stage through our participation in MIT SciTech 2019. Each of the ideas presented and the notions discussed help us cultivate a better understanding of the challenges that are bound to affect our region, and mobilize our knowledge to defy them.”
Speaking on the event, Majd Abbar said: “MIT SciTech aligns with QCRI’s objective to bring about lasting change in the region through innovation. The event unites like-minded individuals and organizations who share a passion for shaping the future of the region through invaluable knowledge exchange. It allows for the exploration of the wealth of young yet information-driven potential in the Arab World.”
MIT’s Arab Student Organization (ASO) reactivated the SciTech conference in 2018 to attract a global network of students, entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators who are interested in finding solutions to address challenges specific to the MENA region.
Science and technology-driven research take center stage at QCRI and CSE. As part of HBKU’s ecosystem, both entities are tasked with addressing global challenges that help shape and create a more sustainable future.
In previous years, QCRI witnessed a successful joint project with MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).
For more information on MIT SciTech, please visit www.scitech.mit.edu.