Dr. Umar Saif received his academic training from LUMS, Cambridge and MIT. He did his BSc (Hons) from LUMS (1998), PhD from University of Cambridge (2001) and Postdoctorate from MIT (2002), all in Computer Science. Dr. Saif worked and taught at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) as a research scientist for four years, where he was part of the group (O2S) that developed system technologies for project Oxygen -- a US$28 million project sponsored by the US Department of Defense (DARPA) and an industrial Alliance of world-class companies including Nokia, HP, Compaq, NTT DoCommo, Phillips, Acer and Delta.
While at MIT, Dr. Saif also managed the multi-million dollar collaboration on future computing technologies between University of Cambridge and MIT sponsored by the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) and a consortium of hightech British companies.
Dr. Saif's research interests broadly span areas of Ubiquitous Computing, Distributed Systems, Mobile Systems, Network Protocols and Architectures and ICT for developing world countries. Dr. Saif has authored several influential publications and is a Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust. Dr. Saif’s research has been featured in popular media, including New York Times, CNN, BBC, New Scientist, MIT Technology Review, Distributed Systems Online, and Dawn News. His research has received grants from Microsoft Research (MSR), Oxygen Consortium at MIT, Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI), US State Department/USAID, HEC and PITB.
Dr. Saif was named as one of the top 35 young innvoators in the world (TR35) in 2011. He was selected as a Young Global Leader (YGL) by the World Economic Forum in 2010. Dr. Saif received the Google Faculty Research Award in 2011, MIT Technovator Award in 2008, Mark Weiser Award at IEEE Percom'08, Digital Inclusion Award from Microsoft Research in 2006 and the IDG CIO Technology Pioneer Award in 2008. During his doctorate studies, Dr. Saif was a Trinity College Overseas Scholar and Commonwealth Scholar at University of Cambridge.
Dr. Saif has (co-)founded four technology startups: BumpIn.com (contextual chatting), SeeNreport.com (citizen journalism), ChOpaal.pk (SMS social networking) and TicketMy.com (event tickets). Dr. Saif is the founder of one of the first startup incubators in Lahore, Pakistan, called SCI.