Dr. Heba Kurdi is a Professor of Distributed Artificial Intelligence at King Saud University and a research fellow at MIT. She completed her PhD from Brunel University’s School of Engineering and Design (London, UK) in 2010, achieving the Shield of Distinguished Research from the Saudi Ambassador in the UK and Ireland.
Inspired by the wisdom of the honeybee colony, Dr. Kurdi developed a new computing environment, Personal Mobile Grids, and thus became the first Saudi female to receive a US patent in the area of Information and Communication Technologies. Inspirations from nature continued to guide Dr. Kurdi’s research, and she received her second US patent based on her Ibn Khaldun (IBK) Fellowship project, in which she designed an algorithm to mimic locusts' dynamic behaviour in drones, for the purpose of improving the efficiency of search-and-rescue missions after catastrophes.
Dr. Kurdi has dozens of journal and conference publications and received the Best Paper Award in London's 2012 Science and Technology Conference sponsored by Springer and IEEE. Dr. Kurdi works as a reviewer for several journals and is a Principal Investigator and project manager of several research projects. Her research interests include Bio-inspired Engineering, Multi-agent Systems, Distributed Systems and Mobile Computing.
From 2014 to 2017, Dr. Kurdi started as a research fellow for MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro) in Professor Jonathan How’s Aerospace Controls Laboratory (ACL). She then joined Professor Kamal Yousef Toumi's lab in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering (MechE), with which she is still affiliated. During her stay at MIT, Dr. Kurdi also invested in managerial skills, achieving executive certificates in Management and Leadership and in Strategy and Innovation from the MIT Sloan School of Management, along with a Harvard Business School certificate in Human Resources Management.
Dr. Kurdi has been working in academia for over ten years, during which she took on various responsibilities and leadership roles, including being the Vice Chair of the Department of Computer Sciences, Vice Dean of the College of Computer and Information Sciences and Vice Dean of the Career and Entrepreneurship Centre. She is also a certified associate fellow of the UK's Higher Education Academy. From these different positions and rich experiences, she has cultivated strong academic, managerial and leadership skills, as well as a deep commitment to the betterment of academia. She was promoted to full professor in spring 2021.