Panel Discussion

on High Performance Computing in Healthcare


• Dr. Khalid Adnan Alissa, Dean ICT, IAU


1. Dr. Dhabaleswar K. (DK) Panda, Professor and University Distinguished Scholar, The Ohio State University
2. Prof. Mohammed Alshahrani, Director General, King Fahad Hospital of the university-Khober-Saudi Arabia
3. Dr. Rashid Mehmood, Director of Research, Training, and Consultancy, HPC Center, King Abdulaziz University
4. Dr. Saber Feki, Sr. Computational Scientist Lead, KAUST
5. Eng. Ahmed Al-Jeshi, Saudi HPC
6. Eng. Saeed Zahrani, IT consultant, 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.

Dhabaleswar K. (DK) Panda

Professor and University Distinguished Scholar, The Ohio State University

Moderator Profile:

DK Panda is a Professor and University Distinguished Scholar of Computer Science and Engineering at the Ohio State University. He serves as the Director of the newly-established $20M NSF-AI Institute, ICICLE ( He has published over 500 papers in the area of high-end computing and networking. The MVAPICH2 (High-Performance MPI and PGAS over InfiniBand, Omni-Path, iWARP, and RoCE) libraries, designed and developed by his research group (, are currently being used by more than 3,200 organizations worldwide (in 89 countries). More than 1.56M downloads of this software have taken place from the project's site. This software is empowering several InfiniBand clusters (including the 4th, 13th, 26th, 38th, and 39th ranked ones) in the TOP500 list. The RDMA packages for Apache Spark, Apache Hadoop, Memcached together with OSU HiBD benchmarks, and MPI4dask from his group ( are also publicly available. These libraries are currently being used by more than 340 organizations in 38 countries. More than 43,000 downloads of these libraries have taken place. High-performance and scalable versions of MPI-driven runtimes for AI (Deep Learning Training and Machine learning (MPI4cuML)) are available from Prof. Panda is an IEEE Fellow. More details about Prof. Panda are available at

Mohammed Saeed Saad Alshahrani

Professor, Emergency and Critical Care Departments King Fahd Hospital of the University, Imam Abdulrahaman Bin Faisal Universit

Panelist Profile:

Professor Alshahrani is the Vice Dean for Hospital Affairs and Director General of the King Fahd Hospital of the University, and a professor at the College of Medicine-IAU. He is the first Saudi national to hold full professorship title in Emergency Medicine and is ranked in the year 2022 as one of the top 10 highest publishing authors on a national level (World Scientist and University Rankings 2022-AD Scientific Index) Dr. Alshahrani is a panel member of multiple critical care clinical practice guidelines and has published more than 80 articles in high impact journals like JAMA, NEJM, Critical Care, Annals of EM, and other international journals. He is the current chairman of Critical Care Scientific Council at the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties and a Co-chairman of Guidelines, Saudi Critical Care Society. Dr. Alshahrani holds a master's degree in Medical education and an on-going Executive MBA education.

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

Senior Director of Cloud Engineering at CNTXT

Panelist Profile:

Saeed is currently a Senior Director of Cloud Engineering at CNTXT, a Saudi Aramco joint venture with a vision to accelerate digital transformation in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Prior to this, He worked as an IT Consultant, part of the EXPEC Computer Center Technology Planning team. His role involved architecting, and designing HPC solutions for Saudi Aramco Upstream business. In addition to his work at Saudi Aramco, Saeed is a member of the College of Computer Science and Information Technology advisory board at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, and is the chairman of the annual HPC Saudi National Committee. Saeed’s main interest is to spread technology knowledge and adoption in the kingdom, by helping to build collaboration between industry and academia. Saeed holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering from Oregon State University and a Masters in Computer Science from Sheffield University.