DR Umar Saif
DR Umar Saif

Dr Umar Saif is a young computer scientist. He has brought many awards and honors for Pakistan. He is an inspiration for the pakistani youth. He is now the vice chancellor of Information Technology University (ITU). 

Name:Umar Saif
In Urdu:عمرسیف
Famous As:Research and Entrepreneurship in ICTD
Education:PhD from Trinity College, Cambridge,
Profession:Vice-chancellor of the Information Technology University and is a senior member of the cabinet of the Punjab province,
Awards :2017 British Council Alumni Award for Professional Achievement, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World,

Dr umar in his officeUmar saif-inspiration for youngsWhile giving interviewWith mayor of Austin


DR Umar Saif
Dr. Umar Saif has extensive experience in academia, management, consulting and entrepreneurship in the IT sector. He is also a senior-member of the cabinet of the Punjab province. 


Dr. 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 Post-Doctorate from MIT (2002). Dr. Saif has received Executive Education from the Harvard Kennedy School on Global leadership and public policy in 2013.

Professional life

Dr umar while delivering presentation
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.  He also managed the $5 Million collaboration between University of Cambridge and MIT, funded by Cambridge-MIT Institute, on Pervasive Computing technologies. [1] professional  

Areas of research

An asset of pakistan-dr saif
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. 
Saif runs the Dritte Initiative, focused on using technology to solve the problems in the developing-world. Saif’s research in ICTD is funded by a Microsoft Research Digital Inclusion Award, a Google Faculty Research Award. Saif and his students developed BitMate, a BitTorrent client designed for the low-bandwidth clients in the developing-world. BitMate has been downloaded more than 30,000 times by users from 173 countries. BitMate doubles the performance of low-bandwidth clients while drastically improving their fairness (upload capacity) by enabling low-bandwidth peers to help each other download faster.
His work in early epidemic warning systems, speech-based services for low-literacy users and  rural cellular networks has had widespread impact. 

Dr saifs entrepreneurship

Saif has co-founded several startups at his incubator SCI. Two of his startups have played an important role in supporting civil society during political turbulence and natural disasters in Pakistan.

  1. Saif co-founded See`n`Report , Pakistan’s first citizen journalism service, during the political turmoil (and subsequent media bans) at the tail-end of the Musharraf era. Amidst media bans, See`n`report was used by civil society activists to report eyewitness accounts, using their cell-phones, during the historic lawyer’s movement. See`n`Report’s platform is now used by leading news and TV channels in Pakistan (and elsewhere) to run citizen journalism initiatives, including Geo TV (GeoDost) and Samaa TV (iSamaa). See`n`report was used by reporters and NGOs to report events live during the massive floods in Pakistan in 2010. Saif is also the co-founder of SMSall.pk , Pakistan’s first mobile social network. SMS all is one of the fastest growing SMS networks in Pakistan, used by hundreds of thousands of people to stay in touch, coordinate relief efforts and enable mobile communities. Over 4 Billion SMS have been sent using SMSall in Pakistan. He is also famous for his work for Dengue Fever.
  2. Saif is known for his work on using ICT solutions for developing-world problems.
  3. He is also the founder of Plan9, Pakistan’s largest startup incubator and is often credited as one of the main forces behind the IT ecosystem in Pakistan. In his role as the Chairman of the Punjab Information Technology Board, his work to introduce technology in government using low-cost smart-phones has had a transformative impact in Pakistan. The World Bank President highlighted this work as one of three global examples of good governance innovations in his landmark speech on governance reforms in Philippines. [2] enterpreneur

Dr Umar saif services

Dr Umar saif has also served in Public Services. His contributions are discussed below:

Chairman of PITB

Dr umar saif Inaugrating e-rozgar house

In Nov 2011, Dr. Umar Saif was appointed as the Chairman of the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and Secretary IT of the Government of Punjab, Pakistan. In this role, Dr. Saif is responsible for all public-sector IT projects in Punjab, including e-governance, capacity-building of the IT industry, IT-enabled citizen services and IT R&D in universities in Punjab. He is largely seen as the key driver for the use of technology in government in Pakistan. During his tenure as Chairman of the Punjab IT Board, Dr. Saif launched several initiatives aimed at improving citizen services for police, high-courts, city district government and health. He also led the development of Punjab Innovation Policy in collaboration with Google Inc and launched Plan9, Pakistan’s first public-sector startup incubator. 

Epidemic warning system

 Under his leadership, PITB designed the smartphone-based early epidemic warning system that played a central role in fighting the Dengue epidemic in Punjab in 2012, and developed an innovative model for fighting corruption using technology. 

AFC and E-learn

ITU of Lahore
PITB also led the deployment of the first Automatic Fare Collection system for mass transit in Pakistan and automated the operations of the first Lahore Metro Bus System. Dr. Saif led the development of Pakistan’s first e-learning platform (http://elearn.punjab.gov.pk), making school textbooks in Punjab freely available online, augmented with interactive learning resources. Dr. Umar Saif and his team at PITB developed several technology platforms that underpin the electronic surveillance and investigative capability of Punjab police and other law enforcement agencies in Pakistan. 


In Jan 2013, Dr. Umar Saif was appointed the first Vice-chancellor of the Information Technology University (ITU). At the age of 34, he became the youngest Vice-chancellor of a university in Pakistan.
Dr. Umar Saif has served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Pakistan between 2013-14. He has served on the Boards of several government and semi-government organizations, including Aitchison College, Bank of the Punjab, Technical Education & Vocational Training Company (TEVTA), Engineering Consultancy Services of the Punjab, Urban Sector Planning and Management Services Unit, Lahore Parking Company, Punjab Municipal Development Fund Company and Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. [3] services

Publication of Dr Umar Saif

Receiving award from CM of punjab
He has released a number of publications in collaboration with other IT experts. 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. [4] Publications  

 Book Writers
 Viral Entertainment as a Vehicle for Disseminating Speech-Based Services to Low-Literate Users Raza, A., A., Christina, C., Guy, A., Sherwani, J., Pervaiz, M., Razaq, S., Saif, U., Rosenfeld, R. In Proceedings of Fifth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD 2012), March 12-15, 2012.
 BitTorrent for the Less Privileged Khan, W., U., Saif, U. In Proceedings of the 10th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks (HotNets-X), November 14-15, 2011.
 A Dynamic Platform for Runtime Adaptation Pham, H., Paluska, J.M., Saif, U., Stawarz, C., Terman, C., Ward, S., In Journal of Pervasive and Mobile Computing (PMC), Vol. 5, No. 6, 2009. (extended version of PerCom’09 paper)
 Collaborative Technologies in International Distance Education Anderson, R., Anderson, R., Linnell, N., Pervaiz, M., Saif, U., Videon, F., In Proceedings of the 13th IEEE International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Work in Design (CSCWD), April 22-24, 2009.
 A Dynamic Platform for Runtime Adaptation Pham, H., Paluska, J.M., Saif, U., Stawarz, C., Terman, C., Ward, S., In Proceedings of the 7th IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communication (PerCom), March 9-12, 2009.
 Structured Decomposition of Adaptive Applications Paluska, J.M., Pham, H., Saif, U., Chau., G., Terman, C., Ward, S., In Journal of Pervasive and Mobile Computing (PMC), Vol. 4, No. 6, 2008
 A Peer-to-peer Internet for the Developing World (Best papers from IEEE/ACM ICTD’07) Saif, U., Latif, A., Butt, S. F., and Butt, N. F., Murtaza, G. In Journal of Information Technology and International Development (ITID), Vol. 4, No. 2, 2008 , MIT Press
 Structured Decomposition of Adaptive Applications (Mark Weiser Best Paper Award) Paluska, J.M., Pham, H., Saif, U., Chau., G., Terman, C., Ward, S., In Proceedings of the 6th IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communication (PerCom), March 17-21, 2008.
 Internet for the Developing World: Offline Internet Access at Modem-speed Dialup Connections Saif, U., Latif, A., Butt, S. F., and Butt, N. F., Murtaza, G. In Proceedings of the 2nd IEEE/ACM International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD), December 2007.
 Poor Man’s Broadband: Peer-to-Peer Dialup Networking Saif, U., Latif, A., Butt, S. F., and Butt, N. F., In ACM SIGCOMM CCR Journal, vol. 37, no. 5, October 2007. (ACM Press)
 Opportunistic File Association for Mobile Operating Systems Saif, U., In Proceedings of the 7th IEEE Annual International Workshop on Mobile Computing and System Architectures (HotMobile’06), April, 2006.
 Medium Access Control Issues in Sensor Networks Ali, M., Saif, U., Dunkels, A., Voigt, T., Römer, K., Langendoen, K., Polastre, J., and Zartash, U., In ACM SIGCOMM Computer Communication Review (CCR), vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 33–-36, April 2006.
 Reducing Configuration Overhead by Using Goal-oriented Programming Paluska, J.M., Pham, H., Saif, U., Terman, C., Ward, S., In Proceedings of the 4th IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communication (PerCom), March 13-17, 2006.
 Gigabit Routing on a Software-exposed Tiled- microprocessor Saif, U., James, W., Anderson, Degangi, A., Agarwal, A., In Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Annual International Symposium on Architectures for Networking and Communication Systems (ANCS), October 2005.
 Practical Experience with Adaptive Service Access Saif, U., Paluska, JM., and Chauhan, V., In ACM Mobile Computing and Communication Review Journal (MC2R), vol. 9, ISSN 1559-1662. pp 27-40, January 2005. 
A Case for Goal-oriented Programming Semantics Saif, U., Pham, H., Paluska, J.M., Waterman, J., Terman, C., and Ward, S., In System Support for Ubiquitous Computing (UbiSys), at the Fifth Annual Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, Ubicomp 2003.
 Service-oriented Network Sockets Saif, U., and Paluska, J.M., In USENIX Annual Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (MobiSys), 2003.
 Internet Access to A Home Area Network Saif, U., Gordon, D., and Greaves, D.J., In IEEE Internet Computing, 54-63, January-February 2001.
 Communication Primitives for Ubiquitous Systems or RPC Considered Harmful Saif, U., and Greaves, D.J., In Proceedings of ICDCS International Workshop on Smart Appliances and Wearable Computing, 2001


Dr umar at alumini awards
Dr saif has received many awards for his contribution in the world of information technology. 

Alumini award 2017

LUMS Alumnus, Dr. Umar Saif received the British Council Alumni Award 2017 at a gala award ceremony hosted on March 3 in Islamabad, by Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan.  [5] awards

Professional achievement award

He was conferred the ‘Professional Achievement Award’ for his professional achievements and the transformative impact of his research on the government and higher education in Pakistan. The awards aim to highlight the effect that a UK education can have upon individuals in countries around the world, as well as to inspire others to reach their potential by pursuing their education there. The awards were being held in 14 locations namely Egypt, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey and the USA.

Sitara-e Imtiaz

Sitarae imtiaz holder
Dr Umar Saif, the chairman of PITB, has been awarded the first Pakistani Sitara-e-Imtiaz in Information Technology.

Under Saif’s leadership, PITB has completed dozens of projects that leverage information technology for the betterment of the masses. For using ICT to solve civic issues and fostering an IT ecosystem in Pakistan, he has been honored with the nation’s third highest civilian honor.

The award is the latest in a long list of achievements for Umar Saif, whose work was highlighted by the President of the World Bank last year as one of three global examples of good governance. [6] sitara  

  • 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
  • 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

PSHA and PITB conduct first census of IT

Dr saif in round table conference in lahore
The Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) and the Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) have joined hands to conduct the country’s first census of the information technology industry. The announcement was made by the Chairman of PITB, Dr. Umar Saif, at the 3rd PITB Roundtable Conference in Lahore, which had been called to open consultations on the recently released first draft of the Punjab IT Policy 2016. Over 120 members of the IT industry, including executives, entrepreneurs and academics were in attendance, including  Ms. Jehan Ara, President of P@SHA, Mr. Wahaj Siraj, CEO of Nayatel and Mr. Salman Ansari, one of the key architects of the National IT Policy formulated in 2000. The Punjab IT Policy 2016 aims to address issues related to access to ICTs for citizens, improving digital financial inclusion, quality of education, promotion of entrepreneurship, taxation, and attracting investments in the IT industry. During the conference, Dr. Saif also announced the formation of a Digital Advocacy Task Force that will formulate recommendations pertaining to cyber-bullying, right to information, privacy, harassment and digital rights. The Punjab IT Policy will be available for online consultation till November 25, 2016 and can be accessed at www.policy.pitb.gov.pk. [7] census  

Idea Croron ka

Dr saif in Neo tv's show
NEO TV is launching Pakistan’s first ever business reality show. To promote entrepreneurship on TV, Dr. Abdur Rehman, the channel’s Chairman, tapped Nabeel A. Qadeer to design and lead the show. Nabeel is known for promoting Entrepreneurship in Pakistan through PITB’s platform. Idea Croro’n Ka will act as a platform that bridges the gap between investors and entrepreneurs. Salim Ghauri, Founder and CEO at Netsol, Naeem Zamindar, Pakistan Country Director and CEO at Acumen and Humayun Mazhar, Founder, CEO and Chairman at CresVentures will be joining the show as investors. Other investors have also agreed to join in the show as it progresses. Dr. Umar Saif, Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), will act as a Business Expert  and Advisor on the show. He will advise the startups on their business models, market viability and a way forward while also bringing his unique entrepreneurial experience to the table. When asked about his opinion about the show He said:

“In Pakistan we need to develop a culture of entrepreneurship, with young people developing an appreciation, appetite and skill to dream up ideas and develop high-tech startups as viable businesses. This show is an important step to develop this culture and spread the germ of entrepreneurship in our youth.”

3 startups will pitch in every episode of the show seeking investment and mentoring by the investors. Two other segments of the show include ‘Himmat Karo Pakistan’ and ‘Pakistan kay Superheroes. [8] Neo tv  

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