The College of Information Technology (CIT) is the youngest college at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). It was established in 2001 and has earned a reputation for excellence in research and teaching. The CIT employs an outstanding team of international faculty, all of whom hold doctoral degrees and are recognized internationally for their contribution to research, innovation and education.
The College of Information Technology (CIT) is a vibrant community for bright students to experience immersive learning from award class faculty members and to conduct scholarly research at state of the art facilities.
Our world-class graduates have made us proud of their achievements and influential positive contribution to the UAE and the world.
CIT is home to some of the most up-to-date laboratories in the world, 20 specialized labs including: Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Information Security & Privacy, Drones and IoT, Grid and Cloud Computing and Immersive Learning.
Assistant Professor, Information Systems and Security- (CIT)
Dr. Fida Dankar is an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems and Security, part of the College of Information Technology, at the United Arab Emirates University. She holds a Ph.D in Computer Science and a Master’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Ottawa, Canada. Prior to joining UAEU, Fida was a staff scientist at Sidra Medical and Research Centre where she worked on privacy preserving data sharing and mining as part of the Qatar National Genome Project. Before that she worked as a research scientist at the IBM Canada Research and Development Centre. She worked there on the secure and private mining of health data. Dr. Dankar was also a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Electronic Health Information Laboratory in the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Her postdoctoral work was devoted to the sharing of health information for secondary purposes, whilst protecting the privacy of patients and the identity of healthcare providers.
Currently, her research focuses on multidisciplinary approaches to the private and secure sharing and mining of biomedical data using cryptography, biomedical knowledge modeling and policy analysis. Dr. Dankar’s research centers on the use of electronic health information for research purposes, while still protecting the privacy of both patients and healthcare providers. In one current project (UAEU Startup Grant assisted), she is designing a secure computational method that allows for surveillance and analysis of data. This approach allows multiple healthcare facilities to jointly carry out an analysis of their data while still keeping it private as the sharing of raw data does not occur. The only shared information is the final outcome. Such an approach can also be used to compute sensitive aggregate statistics relating to hospitals and at the same time protect the identity of the hospitals involved. Examples include: calculating the average rate of bacterial infection, or average readmission rates.
Dr. Dankar has worked as a professor for eight years. She has published twelve papers in journals, presented eight conference papers and been granted three patents.
Outside of work, Dr. Fida is the mother of three (2 boys and one girl) and enjoys cycling, swimming and baking.
Associate Professor, Computer and Network Engineering - (CIT)
Nowadays the Information Technology world is witnessing rapid changes and advances in technology that will have a profound impact on our lives. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) – technology designed to connect the physical world to the Internet – new applications are constantly being created to improve our everyday lives and enhance our lifestyles. By having accurate, real-time information we can expect to further exploit digital data in many fields from smart cities, smart healthcare and smart transportation to autonomous intelligence systems. Indeed, these autonomous systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, are expected to dominate the national air space in the very near future. Along with other types of transportation, drones will play an important role in the deployment of sophisticated new parcel delivery services, monitoring traffic, surveillance, target detection, tracking, and search and rescue whether in cities or rural areas.
Since joining UAEU’s College of Information Technology, Dr Abderrahmane Lakas, associate professor in the Department of Computer and Network Engineering, has been conducting a variety of research projects with a specific interest in wireless and mobile networks, multimedia communications systems, vehicle networks and autonomous vehicles. Along with his colleagues, students and research team (CAST: Connected Autonomous Intelligent Systems) he has extensively researched ad hoc connected systems. More recently, working alongside his students, he proposed a novel drone-based solution for search and rescue situations, where they demonstrated the benefits of commercial drones for civil and humanitarian uses. In a disaster situation, the main challenge for the search and rescue teams is to find and locate victims in the first few hours after the disaster. In this project, the system used radio-scanning techniques that allowed the drones to detect and locate victims via their mobile phones. This exploited the fact that radio waves are continuously emitted by mobile phones as they autonomously search for networks to connect to. This drone application has been exhibited at forums such as GITEX and IDEX and has been tested out by the Search and Rescue Division of the Abu Dhabi Police. This has proved particularly beneficial for rescuers, but has other applications such as road traffic management, detecting congestion and managing crowds.
Dr Lakas and his team at CAST are also investigating the use of IoT’s LoRaWAN technology for the exchange the information collected by the drones. LoRaWAN is designed to allow low-powered devices to communicate with Internet-connected applications over long-range wireless connections. One of CAST objectives is to use this technique to help drones in crowded air space to exchange information about their whereabouts and flight details. This will help to coordinate flight plans and paths more effectively and also autonomously. This not only helps in improving air traffic control, but helps to prevent mid-air collisions.
Assistant Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Computer Science and Software Engineering - (CIT)
From pioneering new technology to publishing insightful research publications for academic journals, Dr Fady Saeed Alnajjar’s work on human behavior analysis and robotics is revered the world over.
Since joining UAEU in January 2016 the assistant professor of artificial intelligence and robotics in the department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has published more than 50 research papers and worked on countless collaborative projects that push the boundaries of science and technology.
Passionate about developing advanced and smart technologies to enhance peoples’ quality of life, Dr Fady’s research insightfully explores, among other theories, autonomous machines, neural computational approaches, adaptive controllers, learning and memory, behavior adaptation and recovery, artificial cognition, robotics, and neuro-rehabilitation. His specialist areas, meanwhile, range from neural dynamics to motor learning and memory.
Notable collaborations for the assistant professor include his partnership with Al Ain Hospital, a project that examined the autism spectrum and learning disorders, and Abu Dhabi Police, a project for which the assistant professor is building a bomb disposal avatar robot.
Dr Fady’s reach also extends overseas. The robotics enthusiast is currently working with the University of Michigan in the US and Nagoya University in Japan to build a prosthetic arm. Additionally, he regularly visits the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Japan to further his research into post-stroke assessment tools and rehabilitation systems and is also partnering with the Faculty of Engineering and IT at the University of Technology in Sydney on the development of a self-rehabilitation tool for stroke patients.
Aside from being an assistant professor at UAEU’s College of IT, Dr Fady is a member of the European 5 Years Project entitled Smart Wearable Robot With Bioinspired Sensory-Motor Skillsas well as the Japan Neuroscience Society (JNS), the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society UAE Chapter and the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society.
Outside the classroom the UAE-born scientist, who spent a number of years living in Japan before returning to the Emirates, enjoys camping, swimming and aikido.
Assistant Professor of Computer Science & Software, Computer Science and Software Engineering - (CIT)
The robotics and media laboratory at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) is where you will find Dr Jose Berengueres connecting art with state-of-the-art.
As Assistant Professor at UAEU’s IT College, the Barcelona native with a PhD in bio-inspired robotics is seeking to bridge the supposed gap between art and technology by demonstrating how they intertwine and open up new horizons, and inspiring students to combine technical and mechanical work with allowing their imagination to flow freely.
Projects in the lab that Dr Berengueres leads are focused on four areas – art and tech, creativity research, data science research, and robotics research – and activities range from crunching numbers to encouraging recycling to building a camel-sized robot that react to students according to its mood.
It’s a diverse environment, and one that reflects the world’s unfolding path, as Dr Berengueres, who also holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering, explains. “I believe in mixing art with technology – without doing this, you are missing out not only on a lot of fun, but a lot of meaningful research,” he says
“Pixar created hit movies and hundreds of highly-skilled jobs, but also pushed the technical boundaries of how computers could entertain humans. The graphic cards developed for 3D gaming have made things like the Tesla autopilot self-driving car possible. And in our lab, we are using ‘nerdy’ gaming devices for research on a new AI field called deep neural networks – because it’s the only way to do this research.
“We have also developed the Artistic Robot, a graffiti-making robot that produces paintings in the style of Jackson Pollock and which we see as an augmented brush for artists. All of this shows how, at the IT College, we love to combine art and technology.”
This approach is also having a big, visible impact on UAEU life. Students have used 360-degree cameras to showcase the campus to visitors in an innovative, immersive way, and created a “smart bin” that smiles at and thanks those using it – the result being that recycling rates soared by 300%.
This commitment to creativity extends into Design Thinking, an increasingly popular course within and beyond UAEU. “It is a thinking framework that enables teams of people to be more creative – what we call ‘group IQ’,” said Dr Berengueres, who has taught Design Thinking and Business Models Innovation in Dubai, California, Germany, and Mexico.
“We realized there were no really good textbooks available to teach it, so – with input from students – we published an e-book called ‘The Brown Book of Design Thinking’, one of the first textbooks tailored to undergraduate students. It led to me giving workshops around the world, and writing ‘Sketch Thinking’ [an Amazon top 100 creativity bestseller], which is used to teach how to quickly sketch ideas. We’re currently researching how the layout of meetings influences the ‘group IQ’.”
The lab’s dedication to data science has seen it collaborate with Etihad on a project to predict which customers will eventually become gold members; with Singapore-based Healint LLC, maker of migraine-coping app MigraineBuddy, on a model to gauge when the condition will strike and how environmental elements such as pollution affect migraine rates; and with HappyForce, a Barcelona startup, on a tool for predicting the likelihood of employees quitting, allowing companies to address the situation.
A specific research group has also been formed to tackle the task of making large amounts of data make sense. “Academically and professionally, this is an expanding field, for two reasons – new algorithms and faster computers,” outlined Dr Berengueres.
“Our group helps researchers with data they do not necessarily know how to model, with the goal being to streamline computing procedures in order to conduct research faster and with more impact.”
Another burgeoning global field – robotics – is also a core element of life in the lab, through its research into human-robot interaction. “It’s a mix of user experience, psychology, and robotics itself,” says Dr Berengueres.
As part of a joint collaboration with Sendai University, we are now building something that has never been built before: a robot with a superhuman sense of touch. Imagine a robot that can tell if you have fever or malaria just by shaking your hand, for example. Robots can be scary sometimes, but the goal of robotics is to make life better for humans.”
Outside the lab and into the community, Dr Berengueres is a sharer of knowledge, insight, and experience. An ex-entrepreneur himself, he says: “I mentor future entrepreneurs at StartUp Weekend Dubai, GEMS Academy events, or by teaching a workshop at places like FabLab, and I also founded the Dubai Design Thinking Meetup as a way of discussing current trends.
“A duty of every faculty is to give back to society in the form of service. For me, this is a particularly rewarding way of giving back.”
“Joining the Computer Science Program is a dream comes true. I have enjoyed every second of it. The courses are well prepared and include great deal of hands-on experience. There are many opportunities to branch out into things you enjoy: developing games or programming robots to serve the community, for example.”
“Computer Engineering is one of the most interesting programs in the College of Information Technology. The program combines theory and practice. Studying Computer Engineering makes you more innovative and creative. I am very pleased I chose Computer Engineering.”
“The Information Technology Program offered by the CIT provides us with the opportunity to broaden our skills and develop our experience in this digital era. It has also encouraged innovation and creativity. The CIT helped to develop my own creative thinking and prepared me for today’s job market”
“The state-of-the-art Information Security Laboratory provided a rich, practical experience and strengthened my understanding of relevant theoretical approaches. The program is taught by dedicated faculty who are also involved in cutting-edge research. The courses expand both the breadth and depth of our knowledge while preparing us for real life situations.”
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