• KAUST-NSF Research Conference On Electronic Materials,
    Devices And Systems for A Sustainable Future 2016

    On 14th to 16th March 2016

    At Building 9, Level 2, Lecture Hall 2, KAUST. [Map]

  • KAUST-NSF Research Conference On Electronic Materials,
    Devices And Systems for A Sustainable Future 2016

    On 14th to 16th March 2016

    At Building 9, Level 2, Lecture Hall 2, KAUST. [Map]

  • KAUST-NSF Research Conference On Electronic Materials,
    Devices And Systems for A Sustainable Future 2016

    On 14th to 16th March 2016

    At Building 9, Level 2, Lecture Hall 2, KAUST. [Map]


King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia and National Science Foundation of United States of America have jointly organized this conference for the 3rd time to assemble the global leading subject matter authorities to share their views and research and to build a collaborative network with KAUST faculty and research community to use electronic materials, devices and systems for a sustainable future. In addition to technical talks, proven effective sessions such as Bright Minds aimed at attracting rising stars for international collaboration and Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) session to promote greater active participation of women will remain highlights of the event. This year a new session Nex-gen In Science and Engineering (NISE) focusing on K-12 students will also be held.

The Conference is organized with financial support from the KAUST Office of Sponsored Research(OSR). Co-sponsored by National Science Foundation (NSF), United States of America, the KAUST Industry Collaboration Program (KICP) and the Computer Electrical Mathematical Science and Engineering (CEMSE) Division.

Conference Schedule

  • MondayMarch 14
  • TuesdayMarch 15
  • WednesdayMarch 16
8:45 AM

Opening Remarks

9:00 AM

Keynote talk

  "I am proud to serve as the International Chair for the KAUST-NSF Conference on Electronic Materials, Devices and Systems for a Sustainable Future.   Electronics has played a big role in shaping our lives around the globe in the areas of communications, healthcare, safety, energy and transportation.  At present times, one of the biggest priorities should be in refocusing our scientific research on sustainable future, finding technological fixes to environment degradation, reduction of poverty, access to clean water, healthcare and energy for all.   It is important for scientists and engineers all across the globe to share their research, discovery and dissemination of practices and strategies in these areas and promote involvement of young bright minds.  I am excited that this conference will provide that platform."

Nonvolatile Memory Technologies for Big Data and Neuromorphic Computing

 At no time in the history of semiconductor industry has the memory technology assumed such a pivotal position. The last decade has seen a remarkable shift in usage and value of semiconductor memory technologies.  These changes are driven by the elevation of four particular target applications – (1) mobile multi-media applications, (2) explosive growth in the sheer volume of data that is being created and stored, (3) emphasis from the individual components to the configurability in high-volume subsystems and (4) applications in brain inspired artificial intelligence systems.

 Current trend of increasing memory density is 3D integration of memory chips based on the 3D NAND with 3D XPoint technologies.  Some of the newer emerging technologies include: MRAM (Magnetic RAM), STTRAM (Spin-Transfer Torque RAM), FeRAM (Ferroelectric RAM), PCRAM (Phase Change RAM), and RRAM (Resistive RAM).  RRAM and PCRAM both are considered to be types of memristor technologies - a passive two-terminal electronic device that is designed to express only the property of an electronic component that lets it recall the last resistance it had before being shut off ("memristance").  The traditional von Neumann architecture operates sequentially on data fetched from memory. In contrast, "neuromorphic" computing distributes both computation and memory among an enormous number of relatively primitive "neurons," each communicating with thousands of other neurons through "synapses." The human brain is the world's most sophisticated computer, capable of learning new things using very little data. It can recognize objects, understand speech, and respond to change.  Nanoscale resistive switching devices are regarded as a promising solution for implementation of biological synapses, capacity to store multiple bits and the low energy required to operate distinct states.

The talk will provide an overview of advances made in various memory technologies with their future trends for big data and machine learning.

9:35 AM


Hybrid Perovskite Optoelectronics

Rediscovery of hybrid perovskites, such as MAPbX3, where X is Cl, Br or I, and their high-performance photovoltaic has aroused lots of interest from the materials science community.  Their exceptional properties such as high light absorption and long carrier diffusion length might lead to paradigm-shifting technologies in the near future [1]. I will discuss the perspective of applying the hybrid perovskites in optoelectronic devices, particularly photodetectors and phototransistors. Our experiments provided direct evidence on the ambipolar transport in perovskite films with balanced electron and hole mobilities [2]. Interestingly, we found that carbon nanotubes embedded in perovskite films can serve as one-dimensional transport channels and significantly enhance the charge mobility in hybrid perovskite. Furthermore, two-dimensional materials such as graphenes and metal dichalcogenides were used to boost the performance of perovskite-based photodetectors [3].

  1. M. I. Saidaminov, et al., Nature Communications, 2015, 6, 7586.
  2. F. Li, C. Ma, H. Wang, W. Hu, W. Yu, A. D. Sheikh, T. Wu, Nature Communications, 2015, 6, 8238.
  3. C. Ma, et al., Advanced Materials, 2016.

10:10 AM

Kaust Alumni Talk

"I could meet experts from different disciplines and get update of the cutting edge researches."

Graphene-based nano-electro-mechanical (NEM) Switch

Graphene, as an atomically-thin carbon sheet, possesses remarkable mechanical properties, including ultra-high Young's modulus and robustness against tensile strain. Combined with its unique electronic properties, graphene provides a promising platform to explore future Nano-Electro-Mechanical (NEM) devices. Graphene NEM contact switches enable very low actuation voltage and abrupt switching with a high current on/off ratio, making them attractive for ultra-low-power logic circuits and advanced power-management applications. In this talk, a mechanically stable graphene nano-electro-mechanical switch fabricated using a simple etching-free method will firstly be introduced. Then I will present the directly scale-deposition of nanocrystalline graphene on an insulator via catalyst-free plasma enhanced CVD. With this material, the large-scale array of NEM switches showing high performance can be obtained by using regular thin film process techniques, with no transfer required.

10:20 AM

Bright mind talk

"I am extremely excited and honored to participate the KAUST-NSFconference for the wonderful opportunity of meeting the brightest minds and learning from them."

Electronics-Human Interfacing at Marco- and Microscopic Scales: Tactile Playback and Artificial Retina

 This talk will present some preliminary results on the development of electronics-human interfacing devices: a "SENES" system that records, stores, replays, and manipulates of finger tip press (touch), and nanowire artificial photoreceptors that directly stimulate retinal neural tissue with light illumination for retinal prosthesis. 

Touch is one of the five senses that human being perceives the world. There have been significant research effort and progress on tactile sensors and e-skin. However, touch sense has not been reproduced like sound and sight. In this talk, we report the development of tactile feedback display - the recording of the force/pressure using a transparent zinc oxide (ZnO) thin-film transistor (TFT) sensor array and the real-time reproduction and manipulation using an array of semi-flexible electro-active polymer (EAP) actuators. This is the very important and exciting first step to realize the incorporation of human touch, as a new dimension, into digital technology.

I will also present results on semiconductor nanowire based retinal prosthesis - novel electronics-human interfacing at microscopic scale. Retina degenerative diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP), are the two major costs for reduced vision or sever vision loss. Retinal prosthesis reproduces vision by detecting light and properly stimulating the surviving retinal neural tissue. However, current retinal implants have limited success in restoring useful vision due to low-resolution vision associated with few stimulation sites, low light sensitivity, and high power consumption. We report the use of high photosensitivity Si nanowire photosensors to replace the degenerated photoreceptors by direct interfacing with rat retina, and the direct stimulation of retinal neurons with light illumination. I am extremely excited and honored to participate the KAUST-NSF conference for the wonderful opportunity of meeting the brightest minds and learning from them.

Prof. Deli Wang
UCSD and CEO of Neem Tech
10:50 AM

Bright mind talk

"Look forward to this research feast with world-renowned scientists and engineers!"

A soft approach to electronics: from nanowires to stretchable systems

Wearable device that matches the soft human body represents an important trend for bio-integration; the resulting search for pliable electronic materials calls for strategies to bridge the gap between hard and soft – among which advanced engineering of the geometry and architecture of materials presents unique opportunities. A prominent example of geometry engineering is that nanowires of piezoelectric oxides can act as a flexible energy source; their synthesis, properties and integration into energy harvesting devices will be discussed. For architecture engineering, the compressive straining of an elastic substrate can be used to fabricate previously inaccessible classes of 3D structures in monocrystalline materials. Conversely, rationally designed 2D geometries can buckle to form 3D layouts to accommodate tensile strain, resulting in unprecedented stretchability. This enables a series of device possibilities in stretchable electronics, including lithium ion batteries with record stretchability and integrated soft health monitoring systems.

11:20 AM

Flash talks

11:50 AM


1:00 PM

Plenary talk (webinar)

Materials and Assembly Approaches for Biodegradable Electronics

A remarkable feature of modern integrated circuit technology is its ability to operate in a stable fashion, with almost perfect reliability and without physical or chemical change.  Recently developed classes of electronic materials create an opportunity to engineer the opposite outcome, in the form of devices that can dissolve completely in water to yield completely benign end products.  The enabled applications include zero-impact environmental monitors, ‘green’ consumer electronics and bio-resorbable biomedical implants – none of which is possible with technologies that exist today.  This presentation describes foundational concepts in materials science and assembly processes for bioresorbable electronics, in 1D, 2D and 3D architectures, the latter enabled by approaches that draw inspiration from the ancient arts of kirigami and origami.  Wireless sensors of intracranial temperature, pressure and electrophysiology designed for use in treatment of traumatic brain injury provide application examples.

Prof. John Rogers
US NAE and NAS Member, UIUC
1:50 PM

KAUST talk

"This conference is a great platform to stimulate collaborations"

Electronics Based on Monolayers

 Modern electronic and optoelectronic devices strongly advance human life and the device development seeks continuous down-scaling in size and thickness. Devices based on atomically thin monolayers represent the extreme scenario for the future low-power consumption electronics. Recent developments have shown that transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) can serve as high on-off ratio semiconductors and for high quantum efficiency optical/optoelectronic applications. The low material cost and potentially simple production of the devices based on 2DL materials are attractive for future green electronics or "monolayer electronics".

Our recent demonstration in vapor phase growth of TMD monolayer [1] has stimulated the research in growth and applications [2]. In this presentation, I would start with the discussion on the synthesis and characterizations of crystalline MoS2 and WSe2 monolayers. These layer materials can be transferred to desired substrates, making them suitable building blocks for constructing multilayer stacks for various applications [3]. Heterostructures of 2d materials formed by vertical stacking have been realized recently via transfer of their exfoliated flakes, where their properties are dominated by the stacking orientation and strength of interlayer coupling. The method to determine valence band and conduction band alignment for various TMD materials is proposed [4].

Another very attractive structure is the lateral heterostructure, where the junction is atomically sharp and the active region can be as narrow as few strings of atoms at the junction areas. This structure offers much easier band offset tuning since materials are spatially separated. The direct growth of such lateral heterostructures will be presented (Figure 1) [5]. Devices directly derived from the lateral junctions will also be discussed.  

2:15 PM

NSF Distinguished Speaker

Fundamentals and Applications of Two-Dimensional Nanoelectronic Heterostructures

            Two-dimensional materials have emerged as promising candidates for next-generation electronic and optoelectronic applications. As is common for new materials, much of the early work has focused on measuring and optimizing intrinsic properties on small samples (e.g., micromechanically exfoliated flakes) under idealized conditions (e.g., vacuum and/or cryogenic temperature environments). However, real-world devices and systems inevitably require large-area samples that are integrated with dielectrics, contacts, and other semiconductors at standard temperature and pressure conditions. These requirements are particularly challenging to realize for two-dimensional materials since their properties are highly sensitive to surface chemistry, defects, and the surrounding environment. This talk will thus explore methods for improving the uniformity of solution-processed two-dimensional materials with an eye toward realizing scalable processing of large-area thin-films. For example, density gradient ultracentrifugation allows the solution-based isolation of transition metal dichalcogenides (e.g., MoS2, WS2, MoSe2, and WSe2) and boron nitride with homogeneous thickness down to the single-layer level. Similarly, two-dimensional black phosphorus is isolated in solution with the resulting flakes showing field-effect transistor mobilities and on/off ratios that are comparable to micromechanically exfoliated flakes. In addition to solution processing, this talk will also report on the integration of two-dimensional materials with dielectrics and other semiconductors. In particular, atomic layer deposition of dielectrics on two-dimensional black phosphorus suppresses ambient degradation, thereby preserving electronic properties in field-effect transistors at atmospheric pressure conditions. Finally, p-type semiconducting carbon nanotube thin films are combined with n-type single-layer MoS2 to form p-n heterojunction diodes. The atomically thin nature of single-layer MoS2 implies that an applied gate bias can electrostatically modulate the doping on both sides of the p-n heterojunction concurrently, thereby providing five orders of magnitude gate-tunability over the diode rectification ratio in addition to unprecedented anti-ambipolar behavior when operated as a three-terminal device.

2:55 PM

IN-Kingdom talk

Recent Advances in Transparent p-Type Cu2O-Based Thin Film     Transistors

 One of the crucial challenges that face the wide-spread implementation of flexible and transparent electronics is the lack of high performance p-type semiconductor material. Cu2O in thin-film form is a potentially attractive material for such applications because of its native p-type semi-conductivity, transparency, abundant availability, non-toxic nature, and low production cost. This presentation summarizes recent research on using copper oxide Cu2O thin films to produce p-type transparent thin-film transistors (TFTs) and complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) devices. Vacuum-Based Physical Techniques and Solution-Based Wet-Chemical Techniques as the main two methods for depositing Cu2O thin films for the purpose of (TFTs) will be discussed and compared. The hi-tech development, along with the associated obstacles of the fabricated Cu2O thin-film transistors are reviewed. Finally, a 3D simulated model using COMSOL Multiphysics will be introduced for the first time as a theoratical tool to investigate the effect of interface traps and gate leakage on the performance of p-type Cu2O thin film transistors (TFTs).

3:20 PM

KAUST talk

"What a great opportunity to mingle with outstanding colleagues from the US."

III-Nitride Semiconductor Deep UV Laser 

 I will present the latest research progress related to achieving deep UV lasers around 250 nm.

3:45 PM

IN-Kingdom talk/ Industry talk

Innovation at SABIC CRD: Flexible Electronics

 An overview of recent developments at SABIC Corporate Research and Development center is going to be presented. A proof-of-concept of a newly developed flexible touch and force sensor with integrated haptic feedback, is going to be discussed. This fully flexible, high sensitive device, combines inorganic-based thin film transistors with organic-based piezoelectric actuators to render a multifunctional device for touch screens applications.


4:20 PM

KAUST talk

"KAUST-NSF Research Conference provide exciting opportunity to share innovation ideas of electronic materials with world's leading researchers."

Designing topological states by pressure, strain, and functionalization

  Various examples of the design of topological states by means of first-principles calculations are discussed. The presentation focuses on the design parameters (1) pressure, (2) strain, and (3) functionalization. TiTe2 is found to be unusually accessible to strain effects and the first compound that under hydrostatic pressure (up to experimentally reasonable 30 GPa) is subject to a series of four topological phase transitions, which are related to band inversions at different points of the Brillouin zone. Therefore, TiTe2 enables experimental access to all these transitions in a single compound. Phase transitions in TlBiS2 and TlSbS2 are identified by parity analysis and by calculating the surface states. Zero, one, and four Dirac cones are found for the (111) surfaces of both TlBiS2 and TlSbS2 when the pressure grows, which confirms trivial-nontrivial-trivial phase transitions. The Dirac cones at the M points are anisotropic with large out-of-plane component. TlBiS2 shows normal, topological, and topological crystalline insulator phases under hydrostatic pressure, thus being the first compound to exhibit a phase transition from a topological to a topological crystalline insulator. While monolayer arsenic and arsenic antimonide are semiconductors (direct band gap at the Γ point), fluorination results for both compounds in Dirac cones at the K points. Fluorinated monolayer arsenic shows a band gap of 0.16 eV due to spin-orbit coupling and fluorinated arsenic antimonide a larger band gap of 0.37 eV due to inversion symmetry breaking. Spin-orbit coupling induces spin splitting similar to monolayer MoS2. Phonon calculations confirm that both materials are dynamically stable. Calculations of the edge states of nanoribbons by the tight-binding method demonstrate that fluorinated arsenic is topologically nontrivial in contrast to fluorinated arsenic antimonide.

7:00 PM

WISE Session

8:45 AM

Welcome remark

9:00 AM

Keynote talk

"I am excited to visit an institution (i.e. Kaust) that is becoming an emerging center of excellence in the fields of materials, devices, and systems."

On the Physics of Flexible Electronics and the Limits of Ohm's Law

As the future of Moore's law appears uncertain, Electronics is being reinvented with a broader focus on flexible electronics, bioelectronics, and energy-harvesting. In this regard, a material based on nanonets of Carbon Nanotubes or Si/ZnO/SiGe Nanowires  has been used as channel materials for thin-film transistors for flexible/transparent electronics, as sensor elements  for label-free bio-sensors, and as  transparent top electrode for solar cells.  A lack of predictive transport models, however, had stymied the translation of  impressive laboratory experiments to practical, disruptive technology. The classical theory of bulk semiconductors, developed over last 50 years in close collaboration with experimentalists, device physicists, numerical analysts, and computer scientists, does no longer apply. In this talk, I will discuss a simple theory of the Nanonet devices based on 2D percolation and fractal dynamics to show how these simple/intuitive approach challenged conventional wisdom and helped us achieve world record performance in several very different technology applications

9:40 AM

KAUST talk

"KAUST NSF is a unique event which brings in world experts from diverse backgrounds under one roof. As a junior professor, this gives me a great platform to listen to great speakers, learn about new discoveries, and interact with great minds from across the world. Last but not the least, it gives me an opportunity to showcase my work in front a of a diverse audience, get their feed back and in many cases open doors for new collaborations."

Flexible, Disposable and Stretchable RF Electronics

 With the advent of wearable electronics and internet of things (IoT), there is a new focus on electronics which can be bent and stretched so that they can be worn or mounted on non-planar objects. Moreover, there is a requirement that these electronics are extremely low cost, to the extent that they become disposable. The flexible and low cost aspects can be addressed by adapting additive technologies such as inkjet printing on plastic and paper substrates. This talk introduces inkjet printing as an emerging new technique to realize low cost, flexible and large area systems in the field of Radio Frequency (RF) electronics. The recent interest in inkjet printed RF electronics is due to the latest developments in nano-particles based conductive inks which can achieve conductivities close to that of bulk metals.  In addition, to conductive inks, now dielectric and semiconductor inks are also emerging. The talk will present many inkjet printed designs, primarily for wireless sensing applications. In the later part, a new platform for stretchable electronics is presented which is quite compatible with standard CMOS technology. The promising results of these designs indicate that the day when electronics can be printed like newspapers and magazines through roll-to-roll and reel-to-reel printing is not far away.

10:05 AM

Kaust Alumni talk

“It excites me to participate in the KAUST-NSF conference where I will be able to share my work with  and hear from esteemed researchers in the rich field of electronics, contributing to the common theme of sustainability”

"Stretching the Boundaries of Inorganic Materials"

With the arrival of Internet of Things, flexible and stretchable electronics are gaining more and more scientific and commercial relevance. Novel ways to engineer materials are constantly being envisioned in order to fulfill the requirements of lightweight, shape-tunability, and conformability. Moreover, flexible and stretchable electronic systems can play an active role in reconfigurable macro-electronics such as distributed sensor networks for wearable and bio-integrated electronic systems. However, silicon, the predominant material for 90% of electronics, is a rigid and brittle material which is not prepared to comply with all this mechanical demands. Structural modifications are a powerful tool that is capable to transform from rigid to flexible and stretchable. As an example, an all silicon-based, flexible and ultra-stretchable network was developed with hexagonal islands and spiral springs interconnections. Several design parameters are considered and their validation is carried out through finite element analysis. The fabrication process is based on conventional microfabrication techniques and the measured stretchability is more than 1000%. Additionally, challenges and novel alternative compound structures will be discussed. This method could offer the opportunity to develop ultra-stretchable and adaptable electronic systems for distributed network of high-performance macro-electronics, especially useful in wearable electronics and bio-integrated devices."

10:25 AM

Bright Mind Talk

"It is a great opportunity to see the top-notch research environment of KAUST."

Nanoelectronics based on low-dimensional carbon materials

 In the last four decades, we have witnessed a tremendous information technology revolution originated from the relentless scaling of Si complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) devices. CMOS scaling provides ever-improved transistor performance, density, power and cost, and will continue to bring new applications and functions to our daily life. However, the conventional homogeneous scaling of silicon devices has become very difficult, firstly due to the unsatisfactory electrostatic control from the gate dielectric. In addition, as we look forward to the technology nodes with sub-10 nm channel length, non-Si based channel materials will be required to provide continuous carrier velocity enhancement when the conventional strained-Si techniques run out of steam. Low-dimensional carbon materials are promising to replace silicon as the channel material for high-performance electronics near the end of silicon scaling roadmap, with their superb electrical properties, intrinsic ultrathin body, and nearly transparent contact with certain metals.  This talk discusses two promising carbon nanomaterials and their applications that are investigated at IBM Research: single-walled carbon nanotubes for high performance logic and graphene for high-frequency analog electronics. I will cover the recent advances in experimental works that reveal the potential of these technologies, as well as a discussion that highlights most significant challenges from technology points of view, and provides perspectives on the future of carbon based nanoelectronics.

10:55 AM

Bright mind Talk

Empowering the IoT: Energy Scavenging and Ultra-low Power Processing

 The internet of things (IoT) is driving a new computing era by enablingthe wireless connectivity of nearly everything we use. Vehicles, appliances, civilengineering structures, manufacturing equipment, livestock and even our own bodieswill have embedded sensors that report information directly to networkedservers,aiding with maintenance and the coordination of tasks. The creativity in this newera of the IoT is boundless, with amazing potential to immensely improve human life.Realizing that vision, however, will require extremely low-power sensing systems thatcan run for months without battery changes - or, even better, that can extract energyfrom the environment to recharge. Moreover, the flexibility and the miniaturizationof such systems are highly desirable to ease their integration with various structures.Thus, the future growth of the IoT will be contingent upon innovations in ultralowpower circuit design techniques, system architecture, as well as novel materialtechnologies.

In the first part of this talk, I will present the design of a power management IC that can operate efficiently with input power in the range of 10 nWto 1𝜇Wwith 3.2nW quiescent power consumption for energy harvesting applications. The asynchronous architecture, subthreshold operation, power-gating and dynamic pulse-width control enabled a peak efficiency greater than 80%.

 In the second part of the talk, I will show the results of an integrated power management IC using on-chip ferroelectriccapacitors for dynamic voltage scaling. The integration of ferroelectric materials with silicon CMOS technology allowed the design of highly efficient switched capacitor DCDC converter with a peak efficiency of 93%.

In the last part of the talk, I will focuson circuit design using the flexible Molybdenum Disulfide (MoS2) - one of the emergingtwo-dimensional materials. I will touch upon our system design flow - which is validated by the design and testing of various combinational logic and sequential circuits. Measurement results demonstrating fully-functional prototypes will be shown and future application opportunities will be discussed.

11:30 AM

Flash talks

12:00 PM


1:00 PM

NSF Special invited talk

"I am excited to attend this conference to meet with rising stars in Saudi Arabia, especially the KAUST research community, and their industrial partners and discuss collaboration opportunities."

Plasmonic Terahertz Optoelectronics for Advanced Terahertz Imaging and Sensing Systems
In this talk, I will describe some of our recent results on developing fundamentally new terahertz electronic/optoelectronic components and imaging/spectrometry/spectroscopy architectures to mitigate performance limitations of existing terahertz systems. Specifically, I will introduce new designs of high-performance photoconductive terahertz sources that utilize plasmonic nanostructures to offer terahertz radiation at record-high power levels of several milliwatts – demonstrating more than three orders of magnitude increase compared to the state of the art. I will describe that the unique capabilities of these plasmonic nanostructures can be further extended to develop terahertz detectors and heterodyne spectrometers with single-photon detection sensitivities over a broad terahertz bandwidth at room temperatures, which has not been possible through existing technologies. To achieve this significant performance improvement, plasmonic nanostructures and device architectures are optimized for operation at telecommunication wavelengths, where very high power, narrow linewidth, wavelength tunable, compact and cost-effective optical sources are commercially available. Therefore, our results pave the way to compact and low-cost terahertz sources, detectors, and spectrometers that could offer numerous opportunities for e.g., medical imaging and diagnostics, atmospheric sensing, pharmaceutical quality control, and security screening systems.

1:35 PM


Energy Efficient Magnetic Nano Transducers          

 Magnetism has a long history in science and engineering and has enabled much economic and technical advancement from the compass, more than 2000 years ago, to contemporary spintronic devices. Magnetic micro and nano transducers are already central to data storage and sensor devices, and more recently they are penetrating various new areas including life sciences and biomedical applications.

In this context, magnetic nanowires are of interest, offering unique properties, due to a high aspect ratio and shape anisotropy. They are characterized by a single magnetic domain, rendering them nano permanent magnets. This feature allows remotely operating the nanowires, i.e. induce motion, produce heat or sense their location.

In this talk, I will introduce energy-efficient transducers, realized using magnetic iron nanowires, ranging from magnetic nanocomposites for artificial skins and energy harvesting over drug delivery to cancer treatment. We developed a facile method to grow iron nanowires with a passivation oxide shell, making them highly biocompatible and temperature resistant. The magnetic nanowire-based transducers enable both new functionalities as well as a power reduction up to several orders of magnitude compared to similar methods.

2:00 PM

Industrial Talk

"What excites me about the conference is being immersed in a community of researchers who have the knowledge and experience to collaborate on addressing real aerospace needs."

Photoresponse of Thermoelectric Nanowires

 Thermoelectric materials are often evaluated for use in energy harvesting and cooling applications.  This project is instead evaluating thermoelectric nanowires in various configurations for their photoresponse.  In this task, visible and near infrared light and Raman spectroscopy were used to characterize photoresponse from the interface of the end of Bi2Te3 thermoelectric nanowires with the surface of a monolayer of graphene.

2:35 PM

KAUST talk

What’s After Sensors?

As we are adopting the age of Internet of Things (IoT), we should prepare to embrace Internet of Everything (IoE). IoT era will depend on wide deployment of standalone sensors through cyber physical system to crunch big data. Moving forward, we envision that penetration of sensors will happen more pervasively through living beings like human, plants, animals, etc. One major initiative in that regard is personalized medicine where massive data is envisioned to be collected and analyzed. Advances in sensor technology from materials, devices, circuits and systems are critical in that sense. But what after that? How do we use those data? Our vision is to empower commoners with simple to learn and easy to implement physical electronics to give rise of citizen science and a surge in innovation. In that direction, I will present a few examples where we fuse complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology, microfluidics, robotic assembly and additive manufacturing 3D printing technologies to integrate fully autonomous flexible-stretchable-reconfigurable electronic systems integrating sensors and actuators seamlessly. A key example is wearable personalized medicinal platform where human body physiological conduction data is used for data analysis, decision making and in-situ drug preparation and delivery. Adaptive drug preparation is critical to personalize healthcare and immediate application areas are energy drink and multi-vitamins. We will discuss integration strategy to rationally design materials, processes, devices and systems.

3:25 PM

Core facilities Tour

6:45 PM

Gala Dinner Chaired by Dean Mootaz Elnozahy

Chief Guest: KAUST President Jean-Lou Chameau

8:45 AM

Welcome remark

9:00 AM

Plenary talk

The Process of Making Breakthroughs in Engineering.

 This presumptuous title was first proposed as a challenge, followed by an irresistible  bribe!Of course there are no magic formulas for making breakthroughs in any field.However it is possible to glean a number of pointers from past experiences.The talk will go over some case histories and draw some pointers from them.

Prof. Thomas Kailath
US NAE Member - Stanford
9:45 AM

Keynote Talk


  "Age", or staleness, of the information received at a destination about an on-going process is a new and important performance index for communication systems. Applications range from sensor systems, price monitoring, and surveillance systems, to control systems, Big Data, social networking,  and wireless communications. In this talk we describe exactly what "age" is and identify the trade-off that exists between the rate of supplying new updates and the delivery delay. The interplay between sampling rate and age shows how "age" differs from ordinary delay. We illustrate the concept on simple models that can be easily analyzed and identify several deeper questions that arise and depend on the information content of the monitored process. These include the notion of "effective age" and predictability as well as the connections between data compression, sampling, and signal structure.

10:20 AM

NSF Distinguished Speaker

​Signal Processing on Graphs: Analytics for Unstructured and Distributed Data

Signal Processing has traditionally dealt with time series, images, video where data is indexed by time ticks and pixels. The structure of the indexing set is taken for granted. In the last few years, new opportunities for signal and data processing have arisen, except data is now indexed by social agents, genes, customers of service providers, or by some other arbitrary enumeration suggested by the application. We develop Signal Processing on Graphs by revisiting the fundamentals of Signal Processing, developing for data (signals) arising from these various domains the essential concepts and methods of traditional Signal Processing. We illustrate the approach with data drawn from a number of different applications including social networks and customer data. Ours is an attempt to identify structure in unstructured data and theory and modeling in the "data deluge[1]."

Work with Aliaksei Sandryhaila, Soummya Kar, Joya Deri, and Jonathan Mei.

Ack:  NSF grants CCF1011903, CCF-1513936

Prof. José M. F. Moura
US NAE Member - Carnegie Melon
11:00 AM

Bright Mind talk

"I was intrigued by the focus on engineering for sustainability and the Arabian setting for the conference."

Toward an Information Theory of Information Overload
Engineering successes of past centuries have given rise to new engineering challenges that are not just technical but sociotechnical in scope. These new challenges are problems of excess rather than of scarcity-problems such as obesity, information overload, and climate change. People's behaviors are critical in large-scale sociotechnical systems and engineers must necessarily consider interactions between people and technical systems when considering these problems.  In this talk, I will develop mathematical models of sociotechnical information systems in the information overload regime.  Then I will discuss fundamental limit theorems and optimal designs that may be developed from information-theoretic characterizations.  In particular, I will focus on the key resource of human attention, and how it can be gained, maintained, and prioritized.

11:30 AM

Bright Mind talk

"This conference will gather specialists of the field of signal processing. I'am very enthuse about exposing my recent works in front of them. Besides, attending this conference will allow me to widen my network and might help me build new collaborations."

Application of random matrix theory to the field of signal and big-data processing

 Random matrix theory is an active research area of modern mathematics with numerous applications most importantly in wireless communication, signal processing and statistics. As far as signal processing applications are concerned, the use of random matrix theory has led to improved signal detection and DoA estimation methods for signal processing. More recently, since 2010, spurred by the rekindled interest to robust signal processing techniques, several works have leveraged the recent advances in random matrix theory in order to understand the behavior of robust scatter estimates as well as robust regressors in the not-so large sample regime. These works have led to new robust methods that, in addition of being resilient to the presence of impulsive noise, are well-adapted to high dimensional settings.

Another important field that is knowing a growing interest and for which random matrix theory can bring an unprecedented benefit is that of machine learning. Recent results in this respect concern the application of random matrix theory to understand the behavior of kernel random matrices, widely used in many subspace methods of the field of big data processing. These results provide a first understanding of the behavior of kernel spectral clustering in high dimensional settings and lead to interesting insights into the when clustering is possible. This talk intends to give an overview of the major attributes of random matrix theory as a powerful tool for signal and big-data processing. It also provides an outlook on the the future research directions of the application of random matrix theory to the field of machine learning.

Dr. Abla Kammoun
Research Scientist- KAUST
12:45 PM


2:30 PM

Industrial Talk

​The Frontiers of Information Technology

For decades, computing power has doubled roughly every two years — an observation knownas Moore’s Law. These technological advances have relied on making transistors increasinglysmaller, thereby enabling each computer chip to have more functionality and calculating power.During this time, IBM has invented many new ways to shrink transistors and fundamentalinnovations to improve performance, most recently demonstrating a 7nm node test chip withpartners GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung.

IBM continues to aggressively pursue disruptive technologies such as III/V compoundsemiconductors and carbon nanotubes for logic devices, magnetoresistive and phase changematerials for memory, and 3D stacking and integrated silicon nanophotonics for high bandwidthand communications.

Yet despite all of these innovative technologies, increasing the density of transistors will ceasewhen length-scales reach atomic dimensions. This raises the fundamental question of what isnext? What is the future of information technology beyond scaling and traditional computing?

The physical sciences must be marshaled to make matter compute in new ways so that we cancreate a future beyond Moore’s Law. It is critical to realize that software alone will not deliversustained exponential speedups. The very nature of computing must be reimagined. Relaxingthe constraints imposed by the von Neumann architecture allows for transformational computemethods such as quantum computing and brain-inspired computing extended all the way to thedevice level.

Furthermore, we must create a partnership between humans and computers to scale andaugment our expertise resulting in better and faster decisions. It is said that the nature ofhuman-computer interfaces, and the fluidity of data in and out of our bodies and minds will betransformed – in short, data must be experienced.

Finally, we have to continue a tradition that traces back to Galileo -- making the invisible visible.Whether it is observing molecules down to the subatomic level to understand fundamentalproperties, observing biological molecules to more quickly understand biological systems, usingmultiple new segments of the electromagnetic spectrum to create an observing platform thatsees in new ways, or looking at data from multiple sources at the geographic length-scale tomake new insights and take control actions on a large system, all of these are examples of howtechnology and data are able to let us see and act in new ways.

This presentation will showcase the importance of technology innovation for improvingsustainability and creating new opportunities by so far unforeseen industry collaborations.

3:05 PM

KAUST talk

"The KAUST-NSF conference has become a sought-out fixture in KAUST’s conference landscape, as it gives KAUST faculty (especially junior ones) the unique opportunity to share and discuss their research with a prestigious and international body of researchers."

Large-Scale Human Activity Understanding from Video

With the growth of online media, mobile cameras, and surveillance networks (especially in the era of smart buildings, cities, and nations), the amount and size of video databases are increasing at an incredible pace. For example, YouTube reported that over 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute to their servers. Arguably, people are the most important subjects of such videos. The computer vision community has embraced this fact to validate the crucial role that human activity/action recognition/detection plays in building smarter surveillance systems, semantically aware video indices, and more natural human-computer interfaces. However, despite the explosion of video data, the ability to automatically understand human activities “in the wild” and at this large-scale is still rather limited.

In this talk, I will highlight the main challenges facing this important field of research and the measures that the Image and Video Understanding Lab (IVUL) at KAUST has taken to address them. Specifically, I will emphasize our work on handling the large-scale nature of the problem, in regards to the number of videos to be processed, the number of activity classes, and their distribution. Moreover, I will describe what I believe to be exciting avenues for future research in large-scale human activity understanding.  

3:30 PM

IN-Kingdom talk

"It is good opportunity for me as an invited researcher to see the set up of KAUST  and its facility, since it’s the first time for me to visit."

Dynamic Simulation of an Unmanned Hybrid Flying Robot

This paper considers the dynamic simulation of an Unmanned Hybrid Flying Robot (UHFR) with main fuel engine in the middle to carry most of the weight . This configuration will increase the flight time  for a given payload size as opposed to the traditional quad-copters, where only DC motors are used. A parametric study to investigate the effect of the propellers ratio (main rotor propeller diameter to secondary rotor propeller diameter), the angle of incidence of the main rotor and the twist angle of the main rotor blades on selected performance criteria of the UHFR is presented.

3:55 PM

KAUST talk

"A place where great minds meet."

Ultra-wideband Communications and Localization: Challenges and Solutions

Indoors communication and localization using ultra-wideband (UWB) technology is faced with a number of practical challenges. The first challenge is the formidable sampling rate required to digitize the signals, which demands expensive ADC hardware to be used. Another important challenge is the detection of the line-of-sight (LOS) signal due to the weakness of the transmitted signals compared to the noise levels. In addition to these challenges, distortions and clock jitter cause uncertainties in the transmitted signals for which the receiver has to make up for. This talk addresses these challenges by providing viable solutions to each problem. Sample applications are presented that demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed solutions.

4:20 PM

IN-Kingdom talk

Smart grid means demand response - Electric Vehicles as an example

To maintain stable and reliable operation of the grid, electric power generation and demand must match almost instantly. Traditionally, balanced operation used to be performed by centralized control of the generation side so as to "follow" the load because generators are readily accessible by the grid operator. The smart grid can enable the grid operator to have access to the distributed electric demand, either directly or through a third party. Hence, the demand may "respond" to grid conditions, making generation-load balance, among other services, more efficient than ever.

In this talk, demand response (DR) as an asset for the grid operator will be discussed. The talk will briefly cover the different services that DR can provide to the grid, whether these services can be valued monetarily, and whether they can be traded as commodities in an open-access electricity market.

New research directions in DR utilization will be presented. These include centralized and distributed control, stochastic scheduling, and even some long-term planning aspects of DR.

4:55 PM

KAUST talk

"The multidisciplinary nature of this conference as well as the high profile participants motivated me to participate in this conference."

Shape Optimization in Image and Video Analysis

A fundamental problem in computer vision is that of detecting and extracting objects of interest from images.  The problem has wide ranging applications from robotic vision & control, to special effects in the movie industry, to surgical pre-planning in medicine, and to geological applications.  In contrast to standard approaches that attempt to extract objects by constructing and discriminating static image statistics, I will show the benefits (and challenges) of considering dynamic data (i.e., video).  A key aspect of modeling dynamic objects in video data, is shape and deformation, and thus there is a need for optimization tools for shape, which live in non-linear high dimensional spaces.  In this talk, I will highlight new optimization tools with invariant properties that are naturally suited to computer vision, and show some of my group's latest results in applications.

5:20 PM

KAUST talk

"I am excited to participate to this conference because this is an opportunity to show that what we do really matters at KAUSTand beyond."

Wireless Communication Security: A myth or a Must?

We define security and show how it is a multidisciplinary concept. We then link it to recently emerging technological terms such as cybersecurity or cyber-physical systems. We argue that security of data networks is an essential component of cyber-physical system. Then, we focus on wireless communication security as a new approach to achieve security of data networks. We briefly highlight some key results and we conclude by potential research directions and some technical challenges.

Dr. Zouheir Rezki
Sr. Research Scientist - KAUST
5:45 PM

Kaust Alumni Talk

"To meet diverse group of researchers and become familiar with their recent research findings, to visit my previous research group and Supervisor, to exploit the potential of international collaboration, and to promote Women In Science and Engineering (WISE) session activities."

Evolution of 5G Wireless Cellular Networks: Design Issues and Solution Techniques

First, the fundamental visions and the anticipated requirements of the 5G cellular networks will be highlighted. Next, key enabling techniques for 5G networks (e.g, in-band full-duplex (FD) communications, wireless energy harvesting (EH), ultra-dense deployment of small-sells, massive multiple-input multiple-output antenna (MIMO), and millimeter wave (mm-wave communications)  will be discussed from the perspective of their benefits and limitations. Fundamental research and possible solution techniques will then be briefly described.

Finally, the Network Architecture and Protocol Design for Dedicated and Ambient Wireless Energy Harvesting (WEH) will be focused and our group's recent research findings will be presented.  In particular, the performance of the centralized architecture/deployment of hybrid access points (HAP) will be discussed both in half-duplex and full-duplex dedicated WEH.

Dr. Hina Tabassum
University of Manitoba
7:00 PM

Flash Talk followed by Poster Session

Meet our speakers

Plenary Speakers

Prof. John Rogers

US NAE and NAS Member, UIUC

Prof. Thomas Kailath

US NAE Member - Stanford

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Santosh K. Kurinec

Rochester Inst. Technology

NSF Distinguished Speakers

Prof. José M. F. Moura

US NAE Member - Carnegie Melon

Bright Minds

KAUST/In-Kingdom Speakers

Dr. Zouheir Rezki

Sr. Research Scientist - KAUST

Industry Speakers