Public Information Session on the MSc Computer Sciences

HALBAN The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) is pleased to invite the public to an Information Session on the MSc degrees in Computer Sciences with an option to study one semester at Hasselt University in Belgium. The session will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, 22 January at 6 pm in GUtech’s Research Hall. GUtech and Hasselt University in Belgium are collaborating in the Master degree.

“Our collaboration with Hasselt University enables students in GUtech’s MSc in Computer Science to gain an international perspective. By spending one semester in Belgium, our MSc Computer Science students can opt to earn additional credits towards a Master’s degree in Transportation Sciences from Hasselt University. These additional credits will focus on traffic safety and technological approaches to handle current and future transportation challenges worldwide,” said Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of Computer Sciences at GUtech.

GUtech invites the general public to the upcoming information session tomorrow to learn more about the MSc programme, the admission requirements and scholarship opportunities. During the session, Computers Sciences professors from GUtech and professors from the Transportation Science Department of Hasselt University will share more details about the MSc programme and answer questions. To attend the session, please register online: https://www.gutech.edu.om/cs-transportation-master-information-session/

Remote work: Computer Science Students work in various projects for the Finnish Company Trimedia

HALBAN Two Computer Science graduates have recently started their remote work at GUtech on web-based projects with the Finnish Online-Marketing company Trimedia in Jyvaskyla, located in the Mid-West of Finland. “Through our work, we gain some more work experiences and understanding of the local GCC, the Finnish and European market,” said Maram Mohammed, GUtech CS alumna.  Maram and Maha Al Busaidi have started their ‘remote internship’ beginning of December. They work on website and mobile applications and web development. GUtech has opened up a small office for the students to work remotely for the Finnish company Trimedia.

“Initially, the students had to apply with their CV, a motivational letter, and prepare a presentation that will demonstrate their technical knowledge and soft skills. Also, the students had to pass the first interview and the technical test in GUtech. Then, the student will be qualified for the second interview with our partner, Trimedia. Our Computer Science alumna have shown the exceptional abilities to analyse technical issues, to quickly understand the core of problems and they were able to develop solutions within short time. Also we need to mention that our students have impressed our partner with their work attitude and with meeting the highest quality standards. They have also shown their ability to work independently with great creativity and enthusiasm with very little supervision,” said Ali Al-Humairi, Computer Science Department at GUtech.

“We are pleased to involve GUtech alumna in our company. This is our first experience with remote work,” said Arto Saksola, CEO of Trimedia who is currently on a visit to GUtech. Oman Educational Services (OES), the mother company that owns GUtech has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Trimedia Finland in October last year. The main objective of the cooperation is to support GUtech’s efforts to link the Department of Computer Sciences with international companies. “With our cooperation with Trimedia we would like to promote start-up businesses in Oman and in the region, while fostering inter-cultural exchange between Oman and Scandinavia. Finland is one of the European leaders in start-ups, especially in the field of computer programming and gaming. We wish that our students gain hands-on experiences and apply and multiply their knowledge here in Oman,” said Ahmed Al Salmi, CEO of OES. Mr Arto initiated the internship along with Ahmed Al Salmi, Ali Al-Humairi from GUtech and Juho Alpua from The Finland Oman School (FOS). In the next six months, the Computer Science graduates will work on different projects. “In Computer Sciences it is very common to work remotely. We have regular conversations online and we are always there to help the students whenever they have a question. So far, we are very pleased with the outcome of the first internship month,” said Arto Saksola.

The students also enjoy their work experience with the Finnish company. “It is not difficult for us being away from the company. We are part of GUtech. The tasks given to us have been a lot of fun and a very good experience,” said Maram. “Working remotely can be less stressful compared to working within a company,” said Maha who remembers her internship time at Oxy Oman, where she worked on rick scheduling for two months. For the Finnish company it is a new intercultural experience to welcome two Omani students within their team. “99% of the time, we are speaking Finnish at our office,” said Arto, who added that he and his colleagues have been impressed by the students’ language, communication and programming skills. “We are also planning to send the students to Finland in order to experience first-hand our work-environment,” said Arto. The students Maha and Maram are also planning to continue their studies with a MSc programme, at GUtech or abroad. Within GUtech the students are supervised by Ali Humairi from the CS Department.

GUtech Commemorates 7th Anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Visit

The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) commemorated on Tuesday 24th December the 7th anniversary of the visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to its campus.

The 24th of December marks the private visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to GUtech campus in Halban. The commemoration of the private visit of His Majesty is annually observed by GUtech community. Students and staff remember the day to reflect on the importance of the visit in GUtech’s history and on the vision of His Majesty the Sultan for Oman’s academic and research development.

In the late afternoon of December 24th, 2012, the founders of GUtech and members of the rectorate welcomed his majesty to GUtech campus and its facilities, few weeks only after its opening.

In visiting GUtech campus and meeting the founders and the rectorate, His Majesty confers upon it an unusual distinction. “We welcome His Majesty’s private visit to GUtech campus as a gracious expression of his trust in our university and a vital catalyser enticing us to work harder and faster for further progress” proudly declares Dr Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy Rector for Administration and Finance.

The significant and ever-lasting contributions His Majesty has made to Oman and to the lives of its people are universally known; not less impressive than the wise introduction of far-reaching reforms which has promoted the development of the education system, and the prosperity of the country in general.

As more as 3000 male and female students enrolled in the university in the last 12 years. More than 400 male and female students graduated from it while there are more than 2200 male and female students are currently pursuing their studies.

(c) GUtech/Text: Fatima El Madkouri

GUtech Students Visited RWTH Aachen University and Other Research Institutes in Germany

To learn more about Computer Sciences in Europe, a group of 14 students conducted a two-week excursion to different universities and research institutions in Germany. “This annual excursion is very important for our students as it helps them to get familiar with the German educational system and to strengthen our links with RWTH Aachen University. Students have the chance to visit state-of-the-art laboratories and may decide later on to conduct their master thesis in one of these labs,” said Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of the Department of Computer Science at GUtech. The excursion was sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

The students and their two professors visited GUtech’s partner-university RWTH Aachen University where they had an introduction to the 5G Application Lab and the Virtual Reality Lab. The group also visited the Fab Lab at Siegen University, as well as different Computer Science laboratories at the Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe, the Fraunhofer Institute in Bonn and the University of Hasselt in Belgium. “For the students, it is important to learn about the ongoing research projects as well as study-programmes at different high-ranking universities and institutes in Germany. Some students may conduct their final BSc projects at one of the universities visited or pursue their Master studies in Germany. The students acquired more knowledge about studying in Germany and the different Master programmes on offer,” said Dr. Sharifa Al Khanjari, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science at GUtech.

Caption: GUtech students and their lecturers at RWTH Aachen University.

(c) GUtech/ Text and Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Dr. Sharifa Al Khanjari

GUtech participates in the Oman Science Festival held in Muscat

GUtech’s Engineering and Computer Science Student Clubs are participating in the Oman Science Festival held at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Muscat this week. The exhibition is organised by the Ministry of Education and it is open to the general public until the end of the week. The Science Festival offers a platform for school students to participate in scientific experiments and hands-on workshops. Around 40 students from GUtech’s Hardware Club and the Applied Geosciences Club are conducting experiments and practical programming activities during the Science Festival. “At our stand, the Hardware Club showcases an automatic light system, building a robot from Lego EV3 and presenting the World of Electronics, some simple electrical experiments for school children,” said Ali Al Humairi, Lecturer in Computer Science and Engineering Faculty and Supervisor of the Hardware Club at GUtech.

As part of the Festival, stalls display various inventions and innovations. At the Shell booth, the GUtech Eco-marathon hydrogen car is on display. The GUtech team ‘Megalodon’ participated in the annual Shell-Eco-marathon Asia competition ‘Make the Future’ held at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia in May this year. In the past four years GUtech teams participated in the Shell Eco-marathon Asia, a competition held for student teams in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions.

“Our team Megalodon made its debut as the first student team from the Arabian Peninsula participating in the Shell-Eco-Marathon Asia Prototype Category with a Hydrogen Fuel Cell three-wheel vehicle,” said Prof. Dr. Emmanouil Bouzakis from the Mechanical Engineering Department at GUtech and Supervisor of the Megalodon team. Over 100 teams from Asia and the Middle East demonstrated their self-built, energy-efficient, eco-friendly cars during the competition. The challenge is to use the least amount of energy for a long distance.

(c) Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

 

 

Promoting Internships Abroad: OES Signs MoU with Trimedia Finland

Oman Educational Services (OES), the owner and mother-company of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Trimedia Finland. The main objective of this cooperation is to support GUtech’s efforts to link the Department of Computer Science with international companies based in Finland. As part of their CS study-programme, GUtech students have to conduct summer internships. The students will work remotely on a project here at GUtech and they will be sent to Finland to get more international exposure and training. “We wish to bring reputable European companies to Oman so that Oman can be developed as their regional hub. At the same time, we wish to connect our students to European companies, providing them opportunities to work here in Oman and also on projects in Europe. Hence, this cooperation will allow GUtech students to learn from the business acumen and mindset of these companies while it will, simultaneously, stimulate their interest and hopefully be an incentive to establish their own start-ups in Oman,” said Ahmed Saud Al Salmi, General Manager of OES. Arto Saksola from Trimedia also expressed his excitement for this opportunity to build cooperation between Trimedia and GUtech/OES. Trimedia will get an insight into the skills of GUtech students and develop further cooperation based on these experiences. At the same time, Trimedia’s employees are delighted with this international cooperation.”

Caption: Mr. Ahmed Al Salmi, General Manager of OES and Mr. Arto Saksola along with OES representatives.

 

“Computer Science offers recession-proof jobs”

HALBAN Computers are part of our every-day lives. “A Bachelor in Computer Science offers a well-rounded programme where students can learn various skills like reasoning, rational thinking and problem-solving,” said Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of the Department of Computer Science and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science during the Avenir Career Fair held at the Indian School Seeb last week. “Computer Science offers recession-proof jobs, withstanding economic changes worldwide,” he added. During his talk to the students, Prof. Nabil mentioned that 60% of the future jobs in science will be related to Computer Science, although only 2% will have the specific skill-set required for the jobs. “Computer scientists will be highly in demand in future, focusing on data sciences, data security especially with regard to the dramatically increasing e-commerce businesses.” He added that Computer Science is a door of opportunities when you have unique ideas that attract a large audience. He stressed that some GUtech graduates in Computer Sciences have started their own start-up businesses in Oman, even representing Google in the Middle East or they work for telecommunications companies like Omantel, Oredoo or consultancies like Ernst & Young. “Our Computer Science graduates have a very good reputation in the local market,” he said. Prof. Dr Nabil Sahli got his PhD from Canada in 2006. He has extensive teaching and research experience in Computer Science. Currently, he is involved in different research projects related to sensor networks and road traffic management.

At GUtech’s BSc Computer Science programme, students attend around 30 hours class per week including hardware and software. In addition, they have to conduct a summer internship and write their Bachelor thesis at the end of the programme. The students are also participating in international competitions such as the Dell EMC competition, Microsoft Imagine Cup, ACM programming or the Google Hackathon. In cooperation with GUtech’s partner-university RWTH Aachen University, GUtech has started a MSc programme in Computer Sciences with an option to study at Hasselt University (Belgium) and to earn an additional Master degree in Transportation Science.

(c) GUtech/ Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

 

Intelligent Technologies in the Construction Sector

“The Construction Industry meets University for Innovation”

MUSCAT The third joint SAP-GUtech/OES Industry workshop highlighting challenges and opportunities of the digitalization of the construction industry was held at the Crowne Plaza Muscat Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday. GUtech assumed the task to set-up a SAP NextGen Chapter in 2018. SAP has been facilitating a SAP Dual Training for 25 SAP selected students.

“The construction industry contributes with 9% to the Oman’s GDP and is the country’s largest employer. The sector has a huge potential for job perspectives related to Intelligent applications. Our intention with this workshop is to create solutions that enhance socio-economic growth values for society and for its citizens,” said Heiderose Moossen, Manager Vocational Training and Industry Relations, GUtech, TSSC Department and main organizer of the event. Especially Building Information Modelling, Augmented Reality, the Internet of Things, in-memory and graph computing could provide new business value and operational excellence.

To link the academia and the industry, GUtech has set-up a NextGen Lab in collaboration with SAP last year. “We wish to listen to students, our future employees and build up their skills for the future,” said Mohsen Al Lawati, Accounts Manager at SAP who introduced SAP to the audience. The construction industry is one of the least digitalized sectors worldwide,” said Mohsen Al Lawati.

Challenges and opportunities of digitalization for the construction industry are diverse, including empowering females and reducing the gender gap in the construction and engineering field. “We female architects would like to go to the construction site” said Rafia Al Bahlani, a young architect who works for Atkins. Intelligent technologies could facilitate more female employment opportunities in operations.

Prof. Dr. Nafaa Jabeur from the Department of Computer Sciences at GUtech said in his presentation on the “Intelligent Construction from the Sky” that there are many opportunities for the application of drones in the construction sector in Oman. These opportunities include enhancing operations while facilitating communications between decision-makers and workers, monitoring the daily progress of the construction site, 3D modeling, volumetric measurement, thermal imaging, optimizing costs for project management and maintenance, reducing health and safety threats, to improve the quality of work.

Jobin George, Business Development Manager from Bauer Nimr Oman introduced the application of the SAP Business One Software in Project Management. Bauer Nimr has been using SAP to streamline operations and to simplify processes, multiple cost units and to optimize the overall user productivity while creating more transparency.

The Industry workshop closed with an open forum and a discussion, where the audience discussed and collected their vision on challenges, opportunities and the way ahead for Intelligent Technologies in the Construction Sector. Most feared is the high investment for systems, that digitalize and re-engineer operations of an organization and support its Project Management processes. However, these systems can also help save money: ARAMCO logged in their accounts 80 Mio USD / anno by introducing a customized SAP systems, that run its operations streamlined, efficiently with regard to cost and time savings. The opportunities would be found in safer construction sites, raise skill levels, gender equality, as site progresses can be monitored by women from their office desks. Eventually smart industries will become the norm and facilitate life and work quality for blue- and white collar employees alike.

(c) GUtech; Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Heiderose Moossen

weDrone Forum – Opportunities, Challenges and Risks discussed

HALBAN – The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has held the “weDrone – Business Forum” at its campus in Halban today. The forum was conducted under the auspices of Dr. Mohammed Nasser Ali Al-Zaabi, CEO of the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA). The one-day forum brought together a large number of experts and scientists from the international and local drone sector as well as local businesses that are interested in introducing drones for their operations in Oman. The forum was held at GUtech for the second time and it was organized in cooperation with the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) and the local company Brave Hawks LLC.

According to Prof. Dr. Nafaa Jabeur from GUtech’s Department of Computer Sciences and Director of Research at GUtech, the forum aimed to connect different stakeholders in order to create awareness about the legal framework, the space management and the inspection and surveillance of drone technologies. Drones are used for example for real time analysis to monitor traffic control including traffic jams and accidents as well as to monitor construction sites, mining operations or agricultural yields.

With increased mobility worldwide, the challenge is to integrate drone technologies into the air traffic and to comply with various safety regulations. Currently, it is prohibited to use drones for private purpose in Oman. According to Eng. Mubarak Al Farsi from PACA, the use of photographic aircrafts is prohibited. UNIFly, an engineering software company from Belgium has developed a software that helps to deploy drones in safe environments. Koen Meuleman, Founder and Chief Financial Operator of UNIFly showcased the software that is already applied in several European countries to the audience. Meuleman said that the software helps to monitor the flight traffic in real time to reach out to the community and to manage the access of the airspace.

However, there are several threats and ethical issues related to the use of drones, such as breaching personal privacy, flying a drone over crowded places is illegal and endangering the natural environment such as birds. “We have been using drones since 2013. Their use saves us time and costs. We use them in the interior of Oman for surveying, geological mapping and for oil and gas inspections.” said Usman Jamil, Manager of GIS and 3D Data Management at Dawood Engineering Consultancy. Similarly, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has been using drones in the past ten years for pipeline and flare inspections, for project development and for monitoring their oil and gas operations, said Khadija Al Aisari, Head of Remote Sensing at PDO. According to Hans Van Calster and Kevin Wippermann, from Duqm Port the port will be developed into a ‘Smart Port’ in the next years, using drones for its overall operations.

To promote research and development between universities and the drone industry, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between GUtech, Hasselt University (Belgium) and the companies Brave Hawks (Oman) and Drone Matrix (Belgium). Given the introduction phase of the use of drones in Oman, Prof. Dr. Geert Wets, Director of the Mobility Institute at Hasselt University said that it is important to conduct research case-studies along with the development of the drone sector in Oman. “Through our research projects we wish to further collaborate with the government, businesses and the education sector to to create joint competencies for the production and a responsible use of drones in Oman and in the region,” said Prof. Dr. Nafaa Jabeur.

 

 

weDrone – Business Forum at GUtech on 27 February

HALBAN The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) will hold the “weDrone – Business Forum” on Wednesday 27 February at its campus in Halban. The forum, organized for the second time by GUtech, will be held in cooperation with the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) and the local company Brave Hawks LLC. The forum aims to bring together experts and scientists from the local and international drone sector. In April 2018 GUtech was the first institution in Oman to address the increasingly important topic of drones. “We are engaging with different stakeholders from Oman as well as from abroad to create awareness about the local legal framework, the management of space where drones are operating, and some critical uses of drones including the inspection and surveillance. During the upcoming event we would like to showcase the different potentials of drones for Oman and we wish to motivate the government, businesses and the education sector to collaborate and create joint competencies for the production and the use of drones in Oman,” said Prof. Dr. Nafaa Jabeur, a drone expert and the main organizer from the Department of Computer Sciences and Director of Research at GUtech. “Oman is in the first stage of developing a drone industry, the usage of drones and the legal framework that fit to the local and regional context. The use of drones is not only about regulations but most important about a responsible, ethical use and behaviour when using drone technologies,” said Prof. Dr. Nafaa Jabeur.

Other topics that will be covered during the upcoming weDrone Business Forum will be the application of drones to support sustainable energy management or logistics. Currently drones are used to monitor operations in the oil and gas industry as well as in agriculture, construction and filming. For the professional use of drones there is a legal framework in place, however regulations regarding the use by laymen and hobbyists are under review by the government.

For more details on the Business Forum please check out the website: wedrone.gutech.edu.om

The participation in the forum is free of charge. The registration is open until 26 February.

(C) Text: GUtech/Dr. Manuela Gutberlet