SIAM News Blog

International Agenda for KAUST’s UQ Center

By Raul Tempone

The two-year-old Center for Uncertainty Quantification at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology exemplifies the connections forged by KAUST with universities, professional societies, and industry worldwide. KAUST established the center in mid-2012, following a worldwide competition for Strategic Research Initiatives.

SRI-UQ and SIAM. Clockwise from front left: Ben Mansour Dia, Alvaro Moraes, Pedro Vilanova, Hamidou Tembine, Hakon Hoel, SRI-UQ director Raul Tempone, SIAM president Irene Fonseca, Kody Law, and Bilal Saad.
In its short existence, SRI-UQ has held two international workshops and hosted more than 40 world-class scientific visitors. SRI-UQ is actively mentoring a thriving cohort of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows,  and several new UQ-related graduate courses have been created. As part of its mission, SRI-UQ also interacts with industry not only in Saudi Arabia and the region, but throughout the world.

UQ methods are essential to an understanding of complex systems, in which varying levels of uncertainty in different components can affect system behavior. Researchers in the area seek to quantify and eventually reduce the impact of those uncertainties in decision-making, risk assessment, and forecasting. As a consequence, UQ is particularly well suited to interdisciplinary research. Progress in the area requires combinations of advanced mathematical, statistical, and computational methods, as well as deep insight into application domains. Accordingly, SRI-UQ fosters a rich interdisciplinary research environment, in which more than 30 researchers interact with experimentalists at KAUST. Within this unique setting, SRI-UQ works to advance the state of the art in both theory and algorithms, while focusing on high-impact applications that include green wireless communications, complex multiscale electromagnetic systems, and reactive computational fluid dynamics.

A constant in the evolution of SRI-UQ has been close ties with SIAM: SRI-UQ director Raul Tempone is the current technical director of the SIAM Activity Group on Uncertainty Quantification, and several SRI-UQ members, including deputy director Omar Knio, serve on the editorial boards of SIAM journals. Visits to KAUST are something of a tradition for SIAM presidents; following in the footsteps of several of her predecessors, Irene Fonseca visited SRI-UQ in March 2014. As shown in the photo below, she also took the opportunity to meet with members of KAUST’s student chapter of SIAM.

Shown here, standing, from left: Noha Alharthi, Han Liu, Luiz Faria, Lulu Liu, Irene Fonseca, Zehor Belkhatir, Gustavo Ivan Chavez Chavez, Tareq Malas, Fadi Eleiwi, and Ayman Karam; kneeling: Yiannis Hadjimichael and Mohammed Al Farhan.

KAUST officially opened in 2009 as an international, graduate-level research university in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. KAUST integrates research and education, leveraging the interconnectedness of science and engineering, and works to catalyze the diversification of the Saudi economy through economic and technology development. KAUST faculty now number about 130, and 600 graduate students are enrolled in MS and PhD programs.

Additional information about the structure and activities of SRI-UQ, along with job openings and a list of publications, can be found here

Raul Tempone is the director of the Strategic Research Center for Uncertainty Quantification at  King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

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