The classroom is an experience that could as well be dreary and tedious for the students. It’s up to the instructor to make the acquisition of knowledge and skills a more delightful and memorable experience by implementing the format most suitable to the topic and the audience.

Malek Smaoui is a Lecturer of Computer Science in the Computer, Electrical, and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering (CEMSE) Division at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

Areas of Expertise and Research Interests

Malek’s interests have shifted towards enriching and enhancing the students’ Computer Science learning experience at the graduate level.

Education and early career

Malek Smaoui received an M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Houston in 2009 and 2011. Her research was focused on nature-inspired optimization algorithms, volunteer computing, and high-performance computing. She joined KAUST in 2012 as a lecturer and has since been teaching a variety of courses. 

Why teaching?

Throughout their graduate studies, students gain expertise in one or a few select fields. Part of that expertise is owed to the guidance and support of their mentors. However, breadth in their training remains an important aspect as it can spark out-of-the-box ideas and foster multidisciplinary research. This breadth is primarily guaranteed through the variety of courses a student completes. A challenge I took upon myself is to engage students in topics they do not perceive as primary interests and make sure they use them as sources of inspiration for their current and upcoming research activities.


When I beheld the state-of-the-art facilities and resources available at KAUST and acknowledged the engagement of its people in achieving its mission, I realized that it would turn out to be a pillar in the development of the country and the region and a major instrument in the progress of science and humanity. This notion rooted my desire to become part of such endeavor.  The richness of the multicultural community and the uniqueness of the living environment only strengthened that ambition. 

Education Profile

  • Ph.D., University of Houston, 2011
  • M.Sc., University of Houston, 2009
  • B.E., Tunisia Polytechnic School, 2006