Pakistan is a land of courageous and talented people, who know how to fight all the odds to shine brighter in the galaxy of world renown stars. Dr. Umar Saif is one such star who has earned many laurels and is serving his fellow country men.
Dr. Umar Saif is a Pakistani computer scientist and entrepreneur, who is known for his work on using ICT solutions for developing-worldproblems. He is also the founder of Pakistam’s largest startup incubator Plan9. 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). Saif is the founding Vice Chancellor of the Information Technology University Punjab and established one of the first startup incubators in Pakistan, called the Saif Center of Innovation (SCI).
Dr. Saif received hi early education from Atichson College, Lahore. He then joined the prestigious Lahore University of Management Science and completed his B.Sc in Computer Sciences from there. He did his PhD in Computer Science, at the young age of 22, from University of Cambridge, where he was a Commonwealth Scholar at Trinity College. He worked at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CASIL) for about 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.
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.
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.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 Plan-9, Pakistan’s first public-sector startup incubator.He is largely credited with revamping the intermediate and matric exam system in Punjab, after a complete debacle of the exam system in the previous year. 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. 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.
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.