Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques follows up Loyalty and Sacrifice 2 drills conducted by National Guard forces

Prince Miteb: National Guard ready for any mission to be ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques

Prince Khaled al-Faisal patronizes international Quran memorization contest on behalf of King Abdullah

Report reviews King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology achievements

Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Minister of State and Member of the Cabinet and Commander of the National Guard, patronized the closing ceremony of the field drill 'Loyalty and Sacrifice 2' of the units of the National Guard in both the eastern and central sectors which started on December 20, 2011.

In a speech delivered on this occasion, Prince Miteb conveyed the greetings of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince to the participants in the drill, hailing the support for military sectors by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince.

He said the support provided to military sectors by the King and the Crown Prince has enabled these forces including the National Guard to enjoy high degrees of efficiency and to prove their combating capabilities in maintaining the security and stability of the homeland.

The closing ceremony was attended by a number of civil and military officials.

Meanwhile, on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, the Governor of Makkah Region, is patronizing at the Grand Mosque the closing ceremony of King Abdulaziz International competition for the Holy Quran's Memorization, Recitation and Interpretation organized by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance.

Minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance and general supervisor of Quran competitions Sheikh Saleh bin Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh hailed support for the competition by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince.

Participants in King Abdulaziz International Contest for holy Quran's Memorization, recently concluded in Makkah, thanked the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior, for their utmost care and interest in preserving the holy book in the hearts of Muslims all over the world.

They lauded the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance for its excellent organization and service for the participants.

This report reviews the main achievements of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) for this year, which witnessed significant progress in KACST’s ongoing efforts to achieve its strategic vision: to build a knowledge-based society through a national science, technology and innovation world wide competitive ecosystem.

KACST is essentially involved with scientific research, as it funds and conducts scientific research and invests its products. This is the main purpose of the establishment of KACST on 19/4/1406 H by Royal Decree M/8. KACST is organizationally structured into institutes and directorates.

KACST institutes (which are organized by sectors) are dedicated to research, and the development of technology and its applications. These institutes include research units and centers, as well as national research programs, laboratories, centers of research excellence and technology innovation centers. The institutes are complemented by administrations which provide facilities and supply the needs of the various research sectors.

KACST also assumes the implementation of its entrusted projects and programs within the five years Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Plan. Furthermore, KACST oversees the implementation of this national plan within the Kingdom’s institutions, ministries and bodies.

This report will only include the STI plan projects implemented by KACST. A separate detailed report will cover plans carried out by other stakeholders, and will be issued once their reports on the implementation of the National STI Plan are received. This abstract will also cover KACST’s main achievements throughout the reported year.

In the year covered by this report, KACST initiated the implementation of the first five years extensive STI plan (2010-2014 G/ 1432-1436 H), derived from the ninth Saudi National Development Plan Strategy, and the guidelines of the national STI plan. The strategic objective of the implementation of the extensive plan is to transform the Kingdom into a leading regional country in science, technology and innovation, through the implementation of the plan’s eight projects and standards.

In terms of scientific research performance, KACST focuses its efforts essentially on conducting applied and developmental research aiming to innovate new technologies, transfer existing ones, and work on enhancing such technologies to meet the Kingdom’s needs. Overall, any technology KACST seeks to create will be applicable to multiple products, rather than a single one.

KACST’s efforts throughout the year of this report yielded a number of achievements. Following are some of the most significant of these accomplishments.

• KACST inaugurated one of its most important strategic projects with IBM: King Abdullah Initiative for Water Desalination Using Solar Energy, as water desalination is a strategic choice of the Kingdom, a consumer of 18% of the global production of desalinated water. This initiative is one of the practical applications of advanced nanotechnologies in the field of solar energy production and water desalination, which aims to decrease the cost of desalination plants by 75%. The Kingdom is one of five world locations recipient of high irradiance, estimated to reach 20,000 kW per square meter annually. Furthermore, solar energy is a clean renewable energy, which supports the Kingdom’s endeavors to preserve the environment.

In the context of this initiative, KACST has ownership rights of the solar energy production and bacteria resistant reverse water desalination osmosis membranes technology, in partnership with IBM. KACST handles the licensing of the use of this technology in the Kingdom and its marketing outside the Kingdom.

• KACST’s intensive and diverse efforts in the field of water technologies, water recycling and reuse led to the development of hollow ceramic and polymeric membranes for water treatment technologies. Materials that can isolate and remove heavy metals from sewage were developed using nanotechnology which enhances the possibility of recycling sewage.

KACST also invented a technology for the treatment of colored industrial wastewater using local clay components.

• 75-80% of the project of absorption cooling using solar energy was completed. The results obtained and tested were considered excellent in comparison with the performance of similar systems in scientific communities.

• KACST is currently working to develop a device that would produce hydrogen from hydrocarbon derivatives (petroleum derivatives) using the promising plasma technology and high thermal stability combustion technology.

• A technology was developed to produce solid oxide fuel cell poles using ceramic nonmaterial.

• In the field of biotechnology, and in a joint research effort with the Beijing Institute of Genomics, the entire genome of the Arabian camel was sequenced for the first time. This accomplishment allows the Kingdom to localize an animal genetic technology, enabling researchers in the fields of genetic engineering and its applications. It will also help improve camel strains, camel disease diagnosis techniques, and the study of the camel’s immune system.

KACST was also able to complete 85% of the Date Palm Tree Genome project in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences. This scientific triumph earned the first place of the Khalifa International Date Palm Award, in the category of distinguished research and studies conducted in the fields of agriculture and date production for the year 2010. This project will be completed in 2011.

• In terms of the development of the Kingdom’s natural resources, and in efforts to conserve the plant genetic origins of the coffee bean tree, a tree of great economic value, KACST surveyed coffee bean farms in the southwest of the Kingdom, also studying their environmental characteristics. KACST intends to expand coffee beans cultivation, after evaluating the economic feasibility of such a project, given the success of coffee beans growth in greenhouses. In the year of the report, a protected area was dedicated to coffee bean trees in Al Ghail valley in the Abha region to proceed to achieve this project’s goals.

• The National Electronics, Communications, and Photonics (ECP) Program produced a strip with a 20 cm wide diameter containing more than 800 highly complex chips designed by KACST engineers and researchers. These strips are used to control electromechanical motion micro sensors. Each chip in turn contains more than 300,000 transistors forming digital and analog circuits, which enable this product to perform its intricate function of sensing and measuring linear motion and rotation.

• In addition, National ECP Program researchers were able to produce initial prototypes of four micro sensors designed by KACST researchers and engineers. These prototypes detect and measure motion. Due to their minute size, these electromechanical micro sensors are efficient and suitable for a number of important applications in the oil and gas industry, as well as video games and cellular phones, digital cameras, aircraft and automobile manufacturing, in addition to important and diverse applications in other fields.

• The National ECP Program researchers also designed a digital high technology card for field programmable logical gate arrays (FPLGA) and high speed digital memory, with an information processing and transfer speed reaching 20 GB/s.

• The National ECP Program successfully developed a technology for real time video, audio and data C band transfer.

• KACST designed and created a technology which resulted in the creation of a smart electrical chair serving individuals with special needs (handicapped by their limited mobility), allowing them to move within buildings with specific maps on the chair’s system, to identify paths and overcome obstacles. This technology can be used in numerous applications.

• A technology was also designed to manufacture a robotic arm which can reach a distance up to three meters far, bearing weight up to 3 kg, which can be used for search and handling operations. This technology can be used for other applications.

A technology was furthermore developed to provide secure communication between two parties via coding/decoding of all exchanged data.

• KACST was furthermore able to design, develop and transfer an infrared imprint measurement system. The results of this application will be used for different applications in many fields.

• KACST developed a technology creating a multi-step system to generate a new laser system of various wavelengths, with many potential medical applications.

• KACST participated with Stanford University and NASA in the final phase of the giant project “gravity probe- b”. This final phase includes the analysis of the space experiment data intended to test Einstein’s theory of relativity from an experimental point of view. This participation resulted in a scientific paper co-published by KACST and its partners, summarizing the results of this experiment.

• KACST successfully continued the operation of SaudiSat 3, the first Saudi satellite, with an imaging accuracy of 2.5 m. SaudiSat performs at the same level of precision as the French satellite Spot-5.

• KACST concluded the initial designs of the first generation of Saudi Geostationary Communications Satellite systems. KACST is currently working on this project according to its planned schedule.

• Furthermore, KACST completed the first engineering design phase of a science experiment satellite, to conduct different scientific experiments, such as the ultraviolet laser experiment.

This satellite is scheduled to be launched in 2012.

• KACST hosted, in collaboration with NASA, the first Saudi Space and Aeronautics Conference. The conference was scheduled to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the first Arab astronaut HRH Prince Sultan Bin Salman trip to space, so as to honor HRH, his Saudi scientific team and his fellow astronauts.

• KACST initiated the implementation of an ambitious project of along-term program on product shelf life based on international standards. This project intends to achieve the integration of all the technical, engineering and administrative aspects of the program.

This project will allow KACST to keep its national expertise and allow it to continue working on the development of space systems.

• As directed by the Council of Ministers, KACST participates in flood risk prevention studies conducted on the Kingdom’s cities, supplying relevant bodies with satellite images of high spatial accuracy and resolution (up to 50 cm) of flood risk zones. KACST also works on producing models of high precision and resolution digital altitudes (up to 2 m) to determine the course and direction of floods and water basins, in addition to producing high resolution and precision satellite images with perpendicular correction, digital maps and rotary imaging of flood risk zones. All of these products will be made available to the relevant government bodies to complete studies related to flood risk prevention. In the reported year, KACST completed the images pertaining to Mecca and Medina. Work is underway to cover all of the Kingdom’s areas according to set priorities.

• KACST is also working on developing the spatial-statistical atlas of cancer disease in the Kingdom, using interactive geographic information systems on the World Wide Web. The atlas will provide a spatial database of cancer cases in the Kingdom, in addition to viewing and interactive analysis tools to detect the locations and distribution of cancer in time and space, identifying the most dangerous population centers or sites to develop monitoring and control programs. This may help elucidate the potential factors causing cancer illness. This project will be finished next year.

• KACST has nearly concluded the implementation of a geographical database project for all the facilities of the Ministry of Education. Completion of the project is expected next year.

KACST has also digitized all of the Kingdom’s 1:50000 scale maps along with numeration of the entire graph content.

• KACST is currently carrying out the project of virtual tourist visits to KSA tourism sites for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, a project expected to effectively enhance local and international tourism to the Kingdom. Furthermore, this project will service hotels and bodies involved with tourism and historical monuments.

• KACST was able to create a product called “the traditional composite ceramic alternative”, fabricated with various polymeric residues from petrochemical industries and sulfur. Compared to traditional ceramics, this product is easily recyclable, environmentally friendly and consumes significantly less energy during the production process. This product earned two international awards: the Gold Medal for the Best Innovation in Malaysia, and the 2010 Gold Award of the Malaysian Association of Research Scientists (MARS).

• KACST conducted geophysical and geo-engineering studies on earth fissures and fractures in the following centers: Al-Adari’ in Al-Jouf Province, Mdaraj, Al-Asyaj and Awthal in Al-Qassim Province, in collaboration with the Saudi Geological Survey.

• KACST developed a modern technology with many applications, including one for the detection of metal bodies and pipes, as well as another technology that can help identify near surface caves and geological formations, which will help relevant government bodies involved with the products of such technologies, in addition to identifying waste burial sites.

• The efficiency of geophysical survey to detect historical sites in the Kingdom was evaluated. Furthermore, efforts are underway to evaluate the penetrating radar survey to measure the thickness of sand dunes in the Kingdom.

• In terms of KACST’s efforts to utilize waste pollutants, KACST manufactured an artificial wood, the “artificial palm wood”, which was produced using date palm leaves and domestic plastic waste, as an alternative to natural wood. This product earned the Silver Award from MARS in Kuala Lumpur in 2010. It provides an economic and environmental solution for the Kingdom which lacks natural wood. It also developed another type of artificial wood, the Saudi artificial wood, a combination of ten kinds of recyclable reusable components. This wood has the advantage of being flame resistant.

• Moreover, KACST was able to enhance the mechanical and physical characteristics of traditional cement using a carbon nanofibers (CNF) adding technology. This would facilitate the use of cement in a number of applications requiring harder cement than the traditional kind.

In addition, it developed an artificial marble, made of crushed marbles and natural rocks mixed with chemical agents binding all these ingredients together. This marble has the advantage of being both lightweight and flexible enough to be shaped as desired.

• KACST completed and published a directory of water requirements estimates for crops in the Kingdom. This directory should help anticipate agricultural water needs, identify potential areas for land reclamation and cultivation, as well as select appropriate crops for cultivation in the Kingdom, schedule irrigation and plan for the increase of agricultural production.

• A geographic database was designed to identify the industrial parameters of the Kingdom’s various regions. The database studies the comparative advantages of KSA regions to identify the appropriate industrial and strategic technology projects for each region. This database will serve as a reference that will help the Saudi Industrial Property Authority as well investors develop strategies to improve industrial estates and technology zones based on the optimal use of available resources.

• The King Abdullah Initiative for Arabic Content launched the Wikipedia Arabic site, to translate the most important science and technology themed articles of Wikipedia. This is a considerable step in terms of enhancing digital Arabic content and science and knowledge available to the Arabic language reader. Through its implemented projects, this initiative was able to increase the Arabic digital internet content from 0.3% in early 2008 fourfold to 1.2% in the end of 2010, according to Google estimates.

• KACST’s applied computer research activities led to the development of a tool to estimate the share of Arabic content on the internet. Work is underway to develop Arabic texts translation systems, and Arabic speech recognition and generation systems. KACST is also about to complete the development of a trial Arabic search engine (NABA).

Furthermore, efforts are underway to complete the development of syntactical and morphological analysis support tools and lexica. In terms of innovative systems and software engineering, KACST established an ongoing program (MOTAH) to support open source software technologies. In this context, KACST offered a number of courses in open source software.

This program is constantly evaluating available open source software to enhance such software.

• The Council of Ministers approved the conversion of the National Program for the Administration and Rationalization of Power Consumption into the Saudi Center for Energy Efficiency. This center aims to enhance energy production efficiency, address the challenges of the electricity sector, and consolidate private and public efforts with this regard, as energy is one of the priority technology areas of the National Program for Energy Technologies Localization and Development. This includes renewable and traditional energy generation, electricity distribution, energy storage, as well as hydrogen and fuel cells, and combustion.

• KACST began the publishing project of five scientific world journals in the first five strategic technology areas of its national plan, in cooperation with international German publisher Springer. These journals will be made available in English on the internet with an Arabic abstract for greater use on a global scale, and to facilitate electronic publishing arrangements.

• As part of the IP management program, 69 patents applications were filed, while the filing of 13 others is underway. Patents applications are filed at international, regional and national patent offices.

In terms of the Kingdom’s efforts to create research centers to transfer technology from world leading sources, the following was achieved during the year of the report:

• KACST ratified a cooperation agreement with Oxford University to create a joint research center in the field of petrochemical technology. This agreement will enable Saudi researchers to collaborate with their colleagues at Oxford University on joint research on this technology of strategic importance to the Kingdom.

• KACST and Intel inaugurated the Center of Excellence for Wireless Applications (CEWA) in Riyadh. This center focuses on research and development, as well as offering expertise, consultative services and performance labs for bodies regulating the communications sector and service providers.

CEWA is also a fundamental element of Intel’s Digital Transformation Initiative. CEWA services are expected to cover the entire Middle East region, Turkey and Africa.

• KACST announced the establishment of three Technology Innovation Centers (TICs) with a budget of 150 million Riyals, as part of a program aiming to create KACST affiliated centers within Saudi universities, in collaboration with the Kingdom’s industrial sector. The program’s grants for this year were awarded to: King Abdulaziz University to establish a personalized medicine center; to King Saud University to create a radio and photonics technology center, as well King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals to establish a Carbon capture and sequestration center.

• KACST signed with Boeing an agreement to establish a Decision Support Center (DSC) to participate in advanced modeling, simulation and analysis activities in the aerospace field. DSC is expected to open in 2011.

• KACST also reached a deal with the Chinese Academy of Science to establish a joint research center for genomes in the fields of agriculture, health and environment.

• KACST also agreed with the Indian Center for Development of Advanced Computing to create a joint centre of excellence in this field. This is the first product of scientific cooperation between the Kingdom and India.

• The BADIR program for technology incubation at KACST, inaugurated along with the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry a Technology Incubator for Business Entrepreneurs, to support young entrepreneurs in technology areas, and help turn their research products into viable businesses.

Furthermore, KACST continued the implementation of the research projects it had embarked on prior to the year of the report. It also continued to implement the infrastructure projects of its institutes, centers and programs within the National STI Plan.

In addition, it continued to perform its due services towards society such as: providing space images, radiation monitoring, early warning, licensing the handling of radioactive materials, crescent and astronomical phenomena observation, the IP management system, the development of the Um Ulqura calendar, in addition to providing lab services to private and public parties, as well as conducting scientific studies requested by government bodies and sectors to address or provide solutions to the technological or scientific challenges they face.