The Palestine Academy for Science and Technology, with the support of Friedrich Naumann Foundation, organized a large three day symposium on simulation-based sciences and engineering in Ramallah and Gaza via videoconference. The event represented the stepping stone towards establishing a National Simulation Science and Technology Research Hub under the umbrella of the Academy.
The organizing committee
- Saed Mallak, Palestine Technical University Kadoorie
- Hussein Shanak, Palestine Technical University Kadoorie
- Salem Abu Musleh, Palestine University
- Muayyad Abu Saa, Arab American University
- Awni Abu Samaan, Al Azhar University
- Salah Agha, Islamic University
- Marwan Alkawni, Quds Open University
- Khalil Alzabayneh, Hebron University
- Amjad Barham, Palestine Polytechnic University
- Ahmad Hasasneh, Palestine Ahliya University
- Sami Jaber, An Najah University
- Huwaida Rabee, Birzeit University
- Ayman Soboh, Al Aqsa University
- Adel Taweel, Birzeit University
- Yousef Zahaykah, Al Quds University
Why focus on Simulation sciences and technology?
The Academy President, Prof. Marwan Awartani, and the Symposium’s visionary and scientific advisor, Dr. Carlo Sansour, have emphasized that the critical focus on simulation technology stems from its importance as an indispensable tool for engineering and applied sciences, as it pervades all scientific disciplines and is at the intersection between mathematical modelling, science and engineering and computer science. Simulation provides predictive results, which either replace otherwise expensive experiments or allow for virtual experimentation in cases where real experiments are not accessible in the first place.
Simulation is interdisciplinary in nature. Applied and numerical mathematics are interwoven with engineering, physical modeling and computer sciences to create an environment that fosters the development of simulation tools. With the combination of simulation tools with methods of large scale data processing and artificial intelligence, worldwide, a new era of research activities is launched.
While the running of extended and large laboratories necessitates large scale investments, especially in machinery and expensive equipment, in addition to investments in human resources, the development of simulation tools usually is carried out using small computers and workstations. The main bulk of investments is directed towards human resources and human development. This kind of development and investment comes naturally to universities and is achievable with some level of international collaborations. Large scale computations are not only necessary but also essential as well. Therefore, until a National Centre for High Performance Computing is established, local scientists can have access to sufficiently large computing resources, through international collaborations. Recently, the readily available cloud-computing has expanded the possibilities of accessing computing resources even further.
Promoting simulation-based research entails many benefits for the local universities and the local economy as well:
- It is a relatively economic way of conducting research, which has the potential to be internationally visible, and so improves the standing of the local universities. Hence simulation could provide a pathway for Palestinian researchers to participate in cutting-edge research.
- Given the importance of the field worldwide, developing local expertise in the field of simulation, combined with methods of data analysis and artificial intelligence, could prepare the ground for establishing companies and start-ups in high tech sectors bringing huge benefits to the local economy. Such start-ups could benefit from the tendency of many international companies to outsource their simulation and programming needs.
Role of the academy
Under the umbrella of the Palestine Academy for Science and Technology, a virtual Palestinian Centre for Simulation Technologies should be established, to facilitate collaborations between Palestinian researchers and universities, coordinate international collaborations, encourage participation in international conferences, seek membership in international organizations and associations related to simulation technology (ECCOMAS, IACM etc.), and act as the official local partner for these associations.
This comes in the context of the Academy’s intent to catalyze and support the formation of a vibrant Palestinian simulation hub, which is capable of bolstering simulation-based education and research, and strengthening international collaborative linkages in the field. This derives from the Academy’s belief that simulation-based R&D can have development multipliers across various sectors.
Scientific lectures and participants
The symposium featured keynote speakers from USA, UK, France, Germany and Palestine who gave lectures, in addition to local Palestinian researchers who gave lshort talks about their research in various topics in simulation sciences, including physics, mathematics, environmental, computer, mechanical, biomedical and chemical engineering, information technology and statistics. A wide audience of Palestinian scientists, students and faculty members from all Palestinian Universities attended the symposium
International keynote speakers
- Prof. Samuel Forest, MINES ParisTech, France
- Dr. Peter Korn, Max Planck Institute, Germany
- Prof. Tim Ricken, Germany,
- Prof. Joerg Schroeder, Germany
- Dr. Paul Steinmann, UK
- Prof. Franz-Josef Ulm, USA
- Palestinian expatriate keynote speakers:
- Prof. Carlo Sansour, INSA Rennes, France
- Prof. Idriss Titi, Cambridge University, UK and TAMU, USA
- Prof. Ahmad Hujeirat, University of Heidelberg, Germany
Palestinian local keynote speakers
- Dr. Ahmad Khamayseh, Palestine Polytechnic University
- Dr. Mohammad Herzallah, Al Quds University, Rutgers University, USA
- Prof. Mohammad Shabat, Islamic University
- Prof. Imad Barghouti, Al Quds University
- Prof. Osama Atta, Palestine Polytechnic University
The symposium’s Business Session
In recognition of the importance of the subject and the research opportunities it creates in the applied sciences fields, the Academy devoted a key session of the symposium for a moderated Business Session, which was open to all attendees, featured a panel of experts from Academia, private and governmental sectors, and reviewed the reality of simulation in Palestine, and discussed the human resource, capacity, technical, organizational and logistical requirements and next steps for initiating the Simulation Hub.
The session concluded in definitive consensus on the establishment of the Simulation Hub, and authorization of the Academy to lead the initiative and provide the National cover and supervision for the Hub. The Hub will undertake functions related to developing the necessary technology infrastructure to support research in the field, building capacities, establishing targeted international collaboration programs, coordinating the support from the multilateral partnership between academia, government and the industry, and advocating for adoption of new academic programs in the fields of simulation and modelling, or feeding the existing programs with new simulation-related tracks. Additionally, a team of Palestinian university representative experts in the field was set up to drive the process forward.