Special Sessions

I. Oil / Gas Industry

Organizer: Dr. Mohammad Hussain

1. Title: Impact of Open Platforms to Operation Technology (Process Control)

Speaker: Eng. Mahdi Akbar, EQUATE

Abstract- Process industries are monitored and controlled by process control devices / control systems. Manufacturers of such equipment were building their devices based on proprietary operating systems (OS) till early 80s. Their production network, called Operations Technology was confined mostly within production and process control community. This was limiting the communication network between the various functions of each process industry. The gap between the IT users and OT users was widening. The invention of open operating systems such as Microsoft, IBM, Apple associated tools and application software have revolutionized the IT world.

There was a lot of noise to adopt commercially available OS to replace proprietary OS for the process equipment. Due to continuous and consistent business pressures, Industrial control systems yielded to and adopted the open OS. Like two sides of any coin, the introduction of open OS had both positive and negative impacts in the process industry. Positive sides can be seen in large number of tools and application software available, communication within different functions of the industrial firms widened to include different stake holders. On the other hand, the skill sets required posed challenges especially in the process control community and cyber security issues started threatening the crucial infrastructure globally.

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2. Title: IoT Paradigm for Oil/Natural Gas Industry

Speaker: Prof. Magdy Bayoumi, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Abstract- The integration and convergence of Distributed and Collaborative Computing, New Communication Platforms, Embedded Control with Actuation technologies, and New Sensing devices and Networks, has led to the emergence of a new generation of engineered systems, the Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). Such systems emphasize the link between cyber space and physical environment (i.e., time, space, and energy). CPS represents the next generation of complex engineering systems. They are large scale dynamic systems that offer significant processing power while interacting across communication networks. Smart and flexible technologies are required to interface both worlds. One of the main enabling technologies and platforms is the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT can create more convenient world by making ordinary things around us smart by adding cognition and data analytics. IoT will help to solve the grand challenges of our society, such as, aging population, limited resources, sustainability, environment, mobility, security, health care, etc. Applications of IoT cover a wide range of economic, medical, and entertainment sectors. It includes; Transportation: automobiles, avionics, unmanned vehicles and smart roads; Large Scale Critical Infrastructure: bridges, mega buildings, power grid, defense systems; Health Care: medical devices, health management networks, telemedicine; Consumer Electronics: video games, audio/video processing, and mobile communication.

Building IoT Systems is not a trivial task. The difficulty arises from the existing gap in modeling and computing at different levels. The design process require new theories, models, and algorithms that unify all system levels in one framework. For example, sensor nodes should be low power, low cost, and multifunction. Because of the special features of these networks, new network platforms are needed for low power, cost effective, reliable communication, and more important security within the resources constrains. Several of these issues will be discussed in this talk with a case study in oil/natural gas applications. Three aspects of this application will be addressed; (1) deep drilling, (2) management and the operation on an off shore platforms, and (3) security of the platform and pipes.


Biography- Magdy A. Bayoumi is the Department Head of W. H. Hall Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering. He is the Hall Endowed Chair in Computer Engineering and the Hall Endowed Chair in Telecommunication. He was the Director of the Center for Advanced Computer Studies (CACS) and the Department Head of Computer Science Department. He was. Also, the Loflin Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Computer Science, all at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he has been a faculty member since 1985. He received B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Cairo University, Egypt; M.Sc. degree in Computer Engineering from Washington University, St. Louis; and Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Windsor, Canada. Dr. Bayoumi has graduated more than 100 PHD and 150 MSC students.

Bayoumi is an IEEE Fellow. He has served in many capacities in the IEEE Computer, Signal Processing, and Circuits & Systems (CAS) societies. Currently, he is the vice president of Technical Activities of IEEE RFID council and he is on the IEEE RFID Distinguished Lecture Program (DLP). He is a member of IEEE IoT Activity Board. Bayoumi has received many awards, among them; the IEEE CAS Education award and the IEEE CAS Distinguished Service award. He was on the IEEE DLP programs for CAS and Computer societies. He was on the IEEE Fellow Selection Committee. Bayoumi has been an ABET evaluator and he was an ABET commissioner and team chair. He has been Guest Editor (or Co-Guest Editor) for many Special Issues, the latest was on Machine to Machine Interface, IEEE CAS on Emerging Technology. He has given numerous keynote/invited lectures and talks nationally and internationally. Bayoumi was the general chair of IEEE ICASSP 2017 in New Orleans. He, also, chaired many conferences including ISCAS 2007, ICIP 2009, and ICECS 2015.

Bayoumi was the chair of an international delegation to China, sponsored by People-to-People Ambassador, 2000. He received the French Government Fellowship, University of Paris Orsay, 2003-2005 and 2009. He was a Visiting Professor at King Saud University. He was an advisor to many Computer Science and Electrical Engineering departments in several countries. Bayoumi was on the State of Louisiana Comprehensive Energy Policy Committee. He was the vice president of Acadiana Technology Council. He was on the Chamber of Commerce Tourism and Education committees. He was a member of several delegations representing Lafayette to international cities. He was on the Le Centre International Board. He was the general chair of SEASME (an organization of French Speaking cities) conference in Lafayette. He is a member of Lafayette Leadership Institute, he was a founding member of its executive committee. He was a column editor for Lafayette Newspaper; the Daily Advertiser.

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3. Title: IT/OT Integration in Oil Industry

Speaker: Dr. Reem Al-Shammari, KOC

Abstract- Operations Technology focuses on physical value creation in Oil exploration and drilling processes. It comprises of the devices, sensors, and applications to monitor equipment installed on oil fields and gathering centers (GCs). Information Technology (IT) on the other hand is focused on managing all the tools & technologies required for smooth and efficient Information processing. In the past most of the organizations have developed and managed their IT & OT environments as totally separate entities. Separation of this has been at all three levels - People, Processes and Technology. Over past few years to leverage the benefits of monitoring and reporting through IT systems, adoption of IT technologies / systems has started to gain more acceptance. In today's OT environments we will see growing use of all-purpose networking protocols like TCP/IP, use of windows systems to name a few. This convergence has definitely led to some clear advantages to the companies including cost reduction, reduced risk to human lives, enhanced performance and reporting capabilities. However, this convergence has also highlighted various challenges that need to be considered while organizations plan to move towards this convergence. Some of the key challenges include:

  • Different set of Technologies in IT & OT environment - both IT & OT environment operate on different set of technologies and protocols which have worked in silos;
  • Human Factors - OT functions in organizations are traditionally made up of industry specialists, mechanical engineers with limited experience / know-how of IT technologies. Same applies to IT functions where people are well versed with IT technologies but find it hard to understand nuances of OT environment;
  • Governance - in most organizations today, IT and OT environments are governed and owned by different teams / functions with limited or no integration / communication between them. Their objectives are also based on different agenda with OT teams focusing on production while IT focusing on reporting & MIS;

and With the above said, to help IT and OT work together, we must ensure that people come together to voice their concerns and identify what they consider critical assets and processes. Having OT personnel integrated into an IT security operations center or security team and having IT personnel learn more about the industrial control system will ensure a better overall approach towards security. This requires breaking down barriers and realizing that the problem is also about people, and not only technology. After all, the tools, technology, tactics, etc. available to defenders are robust even when resources are limited to execute them. It is the people and processes that are ultimately necessary to defend against advanced adversaries and complex problems.


Biography- Dr. Reem Faraj Al-Shammari is the Team Leader - Information Security at Kuwait Oil Company (KOC). She is chairperson of K-Companies Cyber Security Committee, a forum that engages and supports national level Cyber Security initiatives including national cyber security maturity assessment and strategy formation. In her role she has headed various committees and task forces focusing on Information Technology & Operational Technology initiatives. She also spearheaded IT Group's involvement in establishing Kuwait Intelligent Digital Oil Fields (KwIDF) for KOC. Dr. Reem's extensive experience includes leading and managing projects in IT / OT space such as Cyber Security, Digital Oil Fields, Wireless & Telecommunications technologies, corporate applications, and Real-time and ICS applications. In the organization as well in the industry she is recognized as an "Innovator" and "Wild Card" who is known to innovate and continues to 'push the envelope' to get to the most optimum outcome on an initiative or a project. Dr. Reem has also represented KOC in various cyber security events including 5th Sharing Best Practices Conference (May, 2017); 6th Annual Cyber Security for Energy & Utilities (Sep.,2017); 2nd CITG Technology Day in collaboration with Gartner Event (Nov., 2017); and Kuwait 3rd Cyber Security Conference "KIACS" (March, 2017). Her education background includes Philosophy of Doctor (PhD.) in Business Studies, College of Business, Aston University, United Kingdom. Prior to that she completed her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from College of Business Administration, Kuwait University and Bachelors in Computer Engineering (B.Sc.), College of Petroleum & Engineering, Kuwait University. She is certified Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2005. She is active member in Project Management Institute (PMI) and holds affiliations with Gulf Chapter for Project Management.

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4. Title: Digital Transformation in the E&P Industry

Speaker: Mr. Pom

Abstract- Industries in every vertical market are facing the reality of a digital transformation. The question they are facing is, how they will survive and succeed in the digital journey, what strategies they will pursue, and how to avoid traps and pitfalls in their transformation. As oil and gas embraces digital transformation, the industry must evaluate where and how disruptive technologies can be applied in order to "go digital." Where can advanced analytics, big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, cloud, and software platforms be applied for exploration, drilling and production workflows.

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5. Title: A Smart SCADA System for Oil Refineries

Speaker: Dr. Ashraf Zaher, American University of Kuwait

Abstract- This paper proposes a smart automated scheme to monitor and control various processes in oil refineries. The proposal aims to continuously collect data from oil tanks and pipelines, trigger alarm systems for any malfunction, apply effective solutions to the corresponding faults, in addition to other smart features that are integrated into the system to optimize its performance. The proposed design is implemented using LabVIEW, while the wireless data acquisition is made using LabJack. The results demonstrate a successful integration between control and monitoring for providing real-time, continuous and accurate information about the status of the oil tanks and pipelines in the field. The proposed design proves to be a smart version of the well-known Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems. Extensions to other industrial processes that include pressure, heat, flow, oil level, and gas leakage, via installing dedicated sensors, are also investigated. A friendly graphical user interface and a mobile application are introduced to save the log files for the history of data and to provide means of remotely monitoring and controlling the sensors and actuators.

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II. Health Informatics

Organizer: Dr. Dari Alhuwail



1. Title: Reporting on the Use of mHealth and Novel Health IT tools for the Development of the Childhood On set Diabetes eRegistry (CODeR) in the State of Kuwait

Speaker: Dr. Dari Alhuwail, Kuwait University

Abstract- Ranking as the second country in the world with type 1 diabetes (T1D), Kuwait has a high and increasing incidence among children and young people. It was evident that leveraging health information technology (IT) to capture and follow new cases was necessary. In 2010, a novel diabetes electronic registry was designed to register newly diagnosed children and young people with T1D (0-19 years). The Childhood Onset Diabetes eRegistry (CODeR) is part of the Kuwait Scotland eHealth Innovation Network project (KSeHIN), a partnership between Dasman Diabetes Institute, Aridhia Informatics Ltd, University of Dundee and NHS Tayside. CODeR provides an interface between hospitals, primary healthcare centers and Kuwait Diabetes Society. In this paper we report on the development of this novel registry using mHealth technologies. CODeR has been in operation since 2010 and clinicians are able to capture demographic, clinical, and biomedical data. Using iPads, the clinicians enter and review patients' histories drawn from multiple data sources across the healthcare system in Kuwait. A unique civil identifier is used to guarantee integrity and improve traceability. CODeR also allows ascertainment rates to be calculated based on the capture-recapture method. Current evidence demonstrated the effectiveness of this clinical informatics platform as a valuable tool in registering data, obviating paper held registers. CODeR users, all physicians, reported increased overall efficiency, and reliability of the system and its data. Challenges remain with improving system usability on iPads, network performance and speed, as well as overall inclusion of key stakeholders such as patients and their families.


Biography- Dr Alhuwail is the co-founder of the Kuwait Health Informatics Network and an assistant professor at the Information Science department in the College of Computing Sciences and Engineering, Kuwait University. He also serves as a health informatics consultant at Dasman Diabetes Institute and an adjunct faculty member at the College of Medicine at the University of Dundee, supervising graduate students in health informatics. Dr. Alhuwail obtained a Ph.D. in Information Systems with a specializing in Health Informatics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and an MSc from the University of Arizona. Prior to and during his doctoral work, he spent 9 years working industry and in various labs around the world, including the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health, the Division of Clinical Informatics at BIDMC/Harvard and the Health IT Lab at UMBC. Dr. Alhuwail actively conducts research in health informatics and has several publications in peer-reviewed journals. His research interests are centered around the use, adoption, and implementation of health informatics applications. He's a member of relevant professional and academic societies including the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA), the American Medical Information Association (AMIA), the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

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2. Title: Steps in the Right Direction: Dasman's Health Informatics Journey

Speaker: Mr. Humoud Al-Jalahma, Dasman Diabetes Institute

Abstract- Implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is nowadays becoming a key component of any modern healthcare system and is shaping up a significant trend worldwide.  Due to its implications on health care organizations worldwide, this digital surge is a technological advancement that has gained the attention of stakeholders in the industry, both large and small. Kuwait is a relatively advanced country when it comes to the use of information technology in the Middle East. With ambitions to improve the healthcare system via the use of healthcare IT, including an advanced e-health infrastructure, many initiatives have been taken in Kuwait. In this discussion, I shed some light on some of the most promising initiatives taken by the Dasman Diabetes Institute (DDI) to provide a model for healthcare IT in Kuwait. Such initiatives include implementing an EHR for the first time, integration between various systems, rolling out of the EHR across multiple locations and, finally, replacing an EHR with another. I also offer some lessons learned for being involved in such initiatives, as well as a contrast between different approaches taken by the institute throughout the journey.


Biography- Humoud is a registered health information administrator, who holds the position of the head of the Health Informatics Unit at the Dasman Diabetes Institute. During his time at Dasman, he has worked closely with stakeholders and partners of the institute including Ministry of Health. Prior to joining Dasman, during his time in the USA as a student, Humoud worked in a number of industry-leading entities such as BJMG, the Division of Clinical Informatics at BIDMC, as well as the Epic team at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, where he received His Master's degree in Health Administration.

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3. Title: Modeling for Health Policy and Medical Decision Making

Speaker: Dr. Abdullah Alibrahim, Kuwait University

Abstract- Mathematical models can be used to improve decision making in health care by developing and studying meaningful abstractions of complex systems to capture phenomena of interests. Given the nature of health care provision in Kuwait and region, modeling represents an essential tool to inform policy on pressing issues in efficiency, capacity, quality, and cost. Model building is a rigorous process that relies heavily on empirical data and well-developed inputs. The procedures typically followed for model building will be discussed with a focus on the the role of health care data in preparing credible and insightful models. This talk will survey modeling frameworks that can utilize health and organizational data to address pressing health issues such as predicting the spread infectious diseases, optimizing treatment protocols, and improving diagnoses. Modeling frameworks that will be presented include structures commonly used in health care modeling literature such as compartmental models, microsimulations, optimization, cost effectiveness analyses, and Markov decision processes and their applications to in the health care domain. During the process of model building, health data is used for parameter estimation, calibration, validation, and sensitivity analysis. Key limitations of mathematical modeling will also be discussed to inform the health informatics community on possible biases in data sources and model structures.


Biography- Abdullah earned my PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) from the University of Southern California (USC) in August of 2017. He was part of the Health Systems Engineering Lab at Viterbi School of Engineering in USC which focuses on applications of engineering methods and systems approach in the health care domain. Abdullah also holds a Masters degree in Operations Research from USC (2015), a Masters, and Bachelors degree in ISE from University of Wisconsin, Madison (2011 and 2010 respectively). He is experienced at working with and building various types of models and studying complex systems. During his time as a PhD student, he focused on using Agent-Based Modeling to inform health policy relating to health care market competition and patient choice of providers. Additionally, he collaborated with Los Angeles County Substance Abuse Prevention and Control System and the USC School of Social Work to handle patient data and assess system stability and performance.

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4. Title: Use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map diabetic patients in the State of Kuwait - a pilot study

Speaker: Dr. Saad Alsharrah, Dasman Diabetes Institute

Abstract- The science of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has been utilised as a decision-making tool in the healthcare sector and can help contribute in the formulation of effective policies. In recent decades, there has been an exponential increase in the use of GIS to solve public health issues - which has become vital to the understanding and treatment of health problems spatially. This is strongly correlated with the increasing power and use of information technology and software that has led to the advancement of health information management. The Dasman Diabetes Institute (DDI), in partnership with the University of Canberra (UC), is undertaking a major GeoHealth initiative in Kuwait. This involves the development of a Geodatabase at DDI with integration of health and environmental data to enable researchers and decision-makers to perform spatially-based research and help evaluate geographic variations in factors driving the diabetes epidemic in Kuwait. We will present a pilot study which involved the geocoding of DDI's patients - this encompassed the extraction of anonymized patient data from the Electronic Medical Record and running a GIS model that mapped patients to their geographic locations. The GIS model was built using Python language in a GIS environment which placed patients randomly within the boundaries of their respective blocks - applying a geo-masking operation and respecting the patients' privacy. The geocoding process is a preliminary step for further potential of detecting disease clusters with statistical analysis of social-demographic factors and spatial variations in built environmental factors and physical environmental factors.


Biography- Dr. Saad Alsharrah is a GIS consultant at Dasman Diabetes Institute and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Canberra. His research interests include health, social and environmental applications of GIS.

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