A View of Dammam

Recently I visited Dammam and Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – and had the pleasure of talking and making plans with faculty and students at both Dammam University (IAU) and Princess Noura University (PNU) as well as visiting with scientific institutions in the region. I shared with the teams I met, the IBM developer journeys that make it easy to get started with a technology to solve a problem.

At Dammam university (IAU), I asked for a show of hands, in an audience of about 100 students and faculty, indicating who was using Python or R languages. The students were a mix from computer science, business studies, MIS, and design departments. To my surprise, about a third raised their hands showing that the growth of Python use is not restricted to the US – In a CACM recent survey Python is the first language now taught in US universities. Interestingly I did not meet many using R but researchers are aware of the language.These are the slides I presented in Dammam https://developer.ibm.com/opentech/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2017/10/Dammam.malaika.2017-10-17.pdf

Python Top Language in Universities from https://cacm.acm.org/blogs/blog-cacm/176450-python-is-now-the-most-popular-introductory-teaching-language-at-top-u-s-universities/fulltext

I met up with the students at Princess Noura University (PNU) who had developed Watson cognitive projects in 2015. They are now in their final year of their bachelors degree. I was astonished when they were all at their desks 10 minutes early with their laptops open read to take notes. During my talk the students were inquisitive and asked many questions such as
– What are the inhibitors to blockchain adoption in Saudi Arabia?
– When will we use quantum computers?
– What is the singularity?

Three excellent colleagues from IBM Riyadh shared their experiences with the students on careers in industry, and what it is like to work for a large company like IBM:

— Alanoud AlBaiz – Academic Initiative Coordinator https://www.linkedin.com/in/alanoud-a-albaiz-157480113/

— Arwa Albawardi – Vendor Manager https://www.linkedin.com/in/arwa-al-bawardi-mba-85237740/

— Rima Alsunaid – Software Subscription & Support Specialist https://www.linkedin.com/in/rima-al-sunaid-76048922/

The students enjoyed the careers dialog and will blog the session. I am looking forward to seeing the results. These are the slides I presented https://t.co/cXqn06CqNh

I was delighted that a team in Saudi Arabia are exploring the use of Node-RED for their project in collaboration with a US university. The project, when deployed, will be used by analyses across the Kingdom. The team was exposed to Node-RED when IBM supported the NASA SpaceApp hackathon in Saudi Arabia, and ran webinars to encourage the hackathon participants to develop quick solutions. See the Node-RED webinar: https://developer.ibm.com/open/videos/node-red-ibm-bluemix-overview-nasa-spaceapp-challenge/

Plans are underway for a campus-wide technology event at Princess Noura University on Wednesday Dec 6, 2017. The event will be open to guests and will include hands-on workshops for developers. It will be jointly sponsored by a variety of groups including IBM, and the Arabic Women in Computing Saudi Chapter. For more information, an invitation, or to explore sponsoring the event, please contact techsaudiya@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you all there.

Blog shortlink https://wp.me/p6tTze-2BU

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