KAUST winter program offers virtual window to connect to the world

January 12, 2021

Saudi Gazette report

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah University of Science and Technology has launched the 2021 Winter Enrichment Program (WEP 2021) under the theme connectivity.

The program, which was launched on Jan. 10 (Sunday) and will until Jan. 21 (Thursday), is open to everyone living in the Kingdom.

Over 25 keynote lectures, panel discussions, and distinguished lectures are available live and on-demand on KAUST's Facebook and YouTube channels without prior registration.

Commenting on the program, Professor Khaled N. Salama, WEP Chair 2021, said: "Connectivity touches every aspect of our lives. You can think of connectivity in so many different ways."

Digital evolution is the phenomenon of our age. We are always on — wired together in our global village. This universal connectivity goes from the tangible to the intangible and from the nanoscale to the mega scale.

WEP 2021 explores all this and much more from Jan. 10 to Jan. 21 and connects over 70 speakers from all over the world with the audience.

This year's unique WEP program introduces the audience to many topics, including cognitive, physical, and social connectivity; advanced networks and communications; cyber threats and cybersecurity; monitoring and mitigating threats such as infectious diseases; machine learning and AI; Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030; and smart systems and mobility.

Abdullah Al-Swaha, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, made the opening remarks at the WEP 2021.

During WEP, the audience has the opportunity to hear from engineers and scientists whose work is at the forefront of these revolutionary fields, such as Professor Gabriel Leung, one of Asia's leading epidemiologists and former undersecretary for food and health in Hong Kong or Eng. Abdulrahman Addas, CEO of the Royal Commission for Makkah City and Holy Sites.

Audience members can also hear from KAUST scientists, such as Dr. Basem Shihada, associate professor of computer science, who works to bring the Internet to aquatic environments; and Dr. Paula Moraga, assistant professor of statistics at KAUST, whose research has directly informed strategic policy in reducing disease burden in several countries.

The poster of WEP 2021 — a glowing globe — was designed by a student at Umm Al-Qura University. Elham Mulla was selected as the winner of the WEP Poster Design Contest from among a group of talented students at KAUST and other universities in the Kingdom for designing a poster that best demonstrated the theme of Connectivity.

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