Panel Discussion

on High Performance Computing in Healthcare


• Dr. Khalid Adnan Alissa, Dean ICT, IAU


• Dr. Saber Feki, KAUST
• Dr. Rashid Mehmood, King Abdulaziz University
• Eng. Ahmed Al-Jeshi, Saudi HPC
• Eng. Saeed Zahrani, Saudi Aramco


In healthcare where time is life, the integration of the latest breakthroughs in high performance computing (HPC) into the biomedical research field speeds up the development of computationally expensive, neurocomputing methods, including machine learning, neural networks and its variant architectures, deep networks and multi-source healthcare data representation and learning. HPC has been used in healthcare for a long time such as in bioinformatics, genetics, human organs and body modeling, and much more. High performance computing (HPC) helps professionals accurately analyze their data and improve outcomes for patients, from discovering new drugs to finding the best tailored treatment options.

High Performance Computing (HPC) is a crucial technology that offers new opportunities, reshaping the way we receive and provide health services. The COVID-19 outbreak has further demonstrated that HPC is a major asset in fighting against the virus. High performance computing technologies are at the foreground to carry out and accelerate radical biological and medical breakthroughs that would directly translate into real benefits for the society and environment.

This session brings together high-level experts to share their views about the way supercomputers could be used to address complex issues in health research. Reducing the time and cost of drug discovery, developing personalized medicine, improving the overall costs of health care are only few overall drivers for the use of HPC in health research to serve the community more efficiently. This discussion will highlight associated challenges, opportunities and make recommendations.

30 minutes panel discussion is structured as follows:

• Introduction of speakers and background information
• Each member of the panel will individually provide his insight on the uses of HPC, trends in medical research, challenges etc (3-5 min).
• Q&A/discussion with attendees (20 min)

Dr. Khalid Adnan Alissa

Dean ICT, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU).

Moderator Profile:

Dr. Khalid Alissa has a PhD in information security. He is currently an assistant professor at Imam Abdulrahman bin faisal university and a consultant in cybersecurity. He also works as the dean of information and communication technologies (CIO). Dr. Khalid won the prestigious award “Outstanding leadership” and manage to get first place in digital transformation in education sector in Saudi Arabia.

Saber Feki,

Sr. Computational Scientist Lead, KAUST

Panelist Profile:

Saber Feki leads the computational and data science and engineering at the KAUST Supercomputing Core Laboratory, providing support, training, advanced services and research collaborations with users of the leadership supercomputer Shaheen II Cray XC40 and a heterogeneous cluster “Ibex” with over 600 GPUs.

Saber is passionate about technology, and enjoys working with users and technology vendors to plan and execute refreshes to KAUST HPC and AI infrastructure with the latest hardware and software technologies. He is leveraging his expertise to support and consult for several similar deployments for local and regional organizations such as the American University of Sharjah, and the National Center of Meteorology of Saudi Arabia.

Saber received his MSc and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the University of Houston in 2008 and 2010, respectively. He then joined the oil and gas company TOTAL in 2011 as an HPC Research Scientist. Saber has been working at KAUST since 2012.

Rashid Mehmood

Director of Research, Training, and Consultancy, HPC Center, King Abdulaziz University

Panelist Profile:

Rashid Mehmood is the Research Professor of Big Data Systems and the Director of Research, Training, and Consultancy at the High Performance Computing Centre, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. He has gained qualifications and work experience from universities in the UK including Cambridge and Oxford Universities. Rashid has 25 years of experience in computational modelling, simulations, and design using computational intelligence, big data, high performance computing, and distributed systems. His broad research aim is to develop multi-disciplinary science and technology to enable a better quality of life and a smart economy with a focus on real-time intelligence and dynamic (autonomic) system management. He has published over 200 research papers including 6 edited books. He has organised and chaired international conferences and workshops including EuropeComm 2009, Nets4Cars 2010-2013, SCE 2017-19, SCITA 2017, HPC Saudi 2018, and DCAI 2022. He has led and contributed to academia-industry collaborative projects funded by EPSRC, EU, UK regional funds, and Technology Strategy Board UK with a value of over £50 million. He is a founding member of the Future Cities and Community Resilience (FCCR) Network, a member of ACM, OSA, Senior Member IEEE, and former Vice-Chairman of IET Wales SW Network.

Eng. Ahmed Al-Jeshi,

Saudi HPC

Panelist Profile:

Ahmed is currently a board member of the Annual Saudi HPC/AI Conference and the MEA HPC and AI Regional Director at Intel Corporation. In his current role, Ahmed handles the relationship with executives and technical decision makers in the Middle East and Africa region to help them ensure that they get the most out of their investment in HPC and AI Clusters as well as educating them on the latest trends in his field. He also helps those customers in designing the right solution to their HPC/AI problems and making sure that the solution is well-balanced and cost effective according to their needs. Ahmed’s customers include customers with huge HPC/AI deployments who are listed in the top500 list of most powerful supercomputers in the world. He also works with different types of partners including OEM’s, ISV’s, CSP’s, and SI’s to either guide them to position/design the right solutions to their customers or to educate them on the latest trends.

Also, Ahmed has served in many boards throughout his career. Currently, he is a board member and the Technical Chair of the Annual Saudi HPC/AI Conference and a board member of the Enterprise Board of Advisors for KFUPM COE Department.

Prior to joining Intel, Ahmed worked for Microsoft where he was also leading their HPC efforts in the MEA region and then he was appointed as Commercial Sector Accounts Manager in Saudi Arabia. Before that, Ahmed worked at Power and Water Utility Company for Jubail and Yanbu (Marafiq) and SBM in different technical and managerial roles.

Ahmed holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering with Honors from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia and an MBA Degree with Honors from University of Bahrain. He is currently attempting a second Master Degree in Business Analytics and Big Data from IE University in Madrid, Spain.

Eng. Saeed Zahrani

Saudi Aramco

Panelist Profile:

Saeed is an IT consultant at Saudi Aramco EXPEC Computer Center (ECC) with more than 20 years of experience in IT industry mainly in High Performance Computing solutions. He led multiple projects in the EXPEC Computer Center to enhance the compute and storage infrastructure for seismic processing and reservoir simulation applications. Saeed is currently part of the ECC technology planning team responsible for architecting Saudi Aramco upstream HPC solutions. In addition to his work at Saudi Aramco, Saeed has served as a technical consultant to Saudi Aramco joint ventures and as a member of the College of Computer Science and Information Technology advisory board at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University. Saeed holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Oregon State University and a Masters in Computer Science from Sheffield University.