Research at the Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering Division

Research at KAUST brings students, faculty, and researchers together to push the frontiers of science through collaborative inquiry into issues of regional and global significance.

The Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering (CEMSE) Division is associated with two of KAUST’s Research Centers, the University’s primary research units and four Strategic Initiatives:

Research Centers

  • Computational Bioscience Research Center
    Researchers in this Center focus on developing innovative computational technologies to accelerate scientific discovery within the life sciences and expedite new biomedical breakthroughs.
  • Visual Computing Research Center
    This Center is a hub of fundamental and application-orientated research at the University. Researchers are pursuing new developments at the forefront of visual computing, including petascale computing, modeling, visualization, and immersive environments. The Center possesses top expertise in geometry processing and modeling, high-performance visualization, rendering methodology, simulation, topology, and imaging science.
  • Extreme Computing Center
    Computational simulation is a third modality for scientific discovery, engineering design, and decision support, having emerged from six decades of algorithmic and hardware development with the resolution capabilities and the culture of reproducibility necessary to stand alongside theoretical and experimental approaches. 
    Since 1988, as measured by the Gordon Bell Prize, simulation has improved by more than a factor of a million in performance (from Gigaflop/s to many Petaflop/s) and by nearly a factor of a million in price/performance (from over $2.5M per delivered Gigaflop/s to approximately $5 per Gigaflop/s, in the form of GPUs). However, because of new architectural stresses, extreme simulation now stands at a crossroads; this drives the research agenda of the SIEC.

  • Strategic Initiatives

    • Solid State Lighting


    KAUST boasts the largest collection of best-in-class research laboratories, facilities, and equipment of any university in the world. Students and researchers have unparalleled access to these resources, all of which will enable major scientific breakthroughs.


    Those associated with the Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering Division use a number of cutting-edge facilities, including:

    1. The Shaheen Supercomputer
        Is one of the world’s fastest supercomputers in an academic environment. Developed with IBM, it is capable of 222 teraflops, or 222 trillion floating point operations per second. It also includes:

      • A 16-rack IBM Blue Gene/P system with 65,536 independent cores
      • A 1,500-node Linux cluster with two quad-core Nehalem processors per node
      • 64 terabytes of aggregate memory capacity

    2. The CORNEA Visualization Center,
        Is a fully immersive, six-sided virtual reality facility that turns data into 3D structures that students and researchers can interact with and examine as part of their work. Features include:

      • 24 Quad HD Projectors, the highest native resolution (4096x2160 pixels) projectors
      • An advanced spatial/surround sound audio system that adapts to match visual images - the only known research center of this type in the world

    Other research universities in the Kingdom, region, and world will link to the University’s supercomputer and laboratory facilities via the 10 gigabytes per second (Gbps) Saudi Arabian Advanced Research and Education Network (SAREN).


    This unique blend of facilities means that experimental studies at KAUST will be almost unconstrained by physical resources.