Saudi Arabia IEEE ComSoc Chapter Hosts DLT in Network Engineering as Distinct Academic Discipline, Beyond the TEE Movement

By Abdullah S. Almuttiri - Saudi Arabia Chapter Chair

The Saudi IEEE Communication Society (ComSoc) chapter strives to serve ita members through a variety of scientific and social activities. This time Dr. Abdullah Almuttiri, ComSoc Saudi Chapter Chair, invited Prof. Tarek El-Bawab, who is a distinguished lecturer for ComSoc and a professor of telecommunications systems at Jackson State University in the U.S., for a DLT in Saudi Arabia. This tour included three distinguished lectures in three different cities within Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Madinah and Jeddah consecutively.

The Network Engineering discipline is now recognized as a distinct education discipline in the U.S. and in many other countries. This development came about with ABET’s 2015 (current) Criteria for Electrical, Computer, Communications, Telecommunication( s) and Similarly Named Engineering Programs. Few academic programs focused on this area of study in the past. More programs are expected to emerge now with progress in this field and with ABET recognition of it. Such programs have great potential to prepare a new generation of network engineers and can help advance research and development in network science and engineering.

Tarek El-Bawab giving his talk.

This DLT is a reflection on the history of the Telecommunication Engineering Education (TEE) movement (2008-2014) which resulted in the recognition of Network/Telecom Engineering by ABET. A discussion of the motivations behind this movement, its proceedings, and conclusion is given. Followed by an exploration of the horizon beyond TEE, looking at the work that needs to be done to capitalize on its results, and the roles of numerous stakeholders thereto. We explored areas where curricular work is necessary in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT), Software Defined Networks (SDN), Network Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and others. The speaker then discussed how Discipline Based Education Research (DBER), experiential learning, and other innovative instruction strategies may be utilized in education of especially important topics such as Telecom Standards.

The talk described community efforts that are underway to progress network engineering education and research, including a dedicated Textbook Series by Springer; a partnership between U.S. academia, industry, and the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) into the project ISTEE (Integrating Standards into Telecommunication Engineering Education); and a new Series Structure and Feature Topic(s) in IEEE Communications Magazine.

These three distinguished lectures were given in three cities at three different universities. The first DLT was given at AlFaisal University in Riyadh, where faculty members were very interested and were looking for this lecture, including the dean of the Faculty of Engineering, as the faculty was applying for ABET recognition. The second lecture was given at Islamic University in Madinah to faculty members from the Computer Science College and Engineering College. The last lecture was given at one of the biggest research universities in the Middle East, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) north of the Jeddah suburbs.

The IEEE Communication Society Saudi Chapter is striving to serve his members by hosting multiple events and activities that bring members together with state-of-the-art technologies that make our world a better place to live. We regularly invite world class scientists, researchers and industrial professionals for talks and DLTs to serve the interests of our members. For questions or inquiries please contact the chapter chair, Dr. Abdullah Almuttiri,