Plenary talks

raficTitle: Semiconductor Technology – Megatrends and Challenges

Speaker: Rafic Zein Makki, Senior Vice President and Fellow at Global Foundries


In the past few years, the future of the industry has come into question due to traditional scaling approaching its limits and the slow down of Moore’s Law. While the industry is facing some of the toughest challenges in its history, the opportunities have never been greater. This talk is in two parts: first, it will examine solution pathways to the grand technology challenges vis-a-vis the application megatrends that are shaping the future of ICT; and second, the talk will highlight the strategy for building differentiated R&D capacity in semiconductor technology in Abu Dhabi in light of these megatrends.


Over a career spanning over 30 years in the US and Abu Dhabi, Rafic has held senior leadership positions including, Executive Director of the Office of Planning and Strategic Affairs of the Abu Dhabi Education Council, Vice President for Research at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and Dean of the College of Information Technology at UAE University, where he led the building of 7 degree programs and the recruitment of over 40 faculty members.

From 1984-2003, Rafic served on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he attained the rank of Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and directed the computer engineering program from 2000-2003. He also served as President of the Faculty (elected by the university faculty at large).

Rafic co-founded the Transforming Education Summit, the International Design and Test Workshop, and founded the Innovations in IT conference. He has given invited talks at the World Economic Forum and the National Academies among others, and participated on panels organized by The Economist, INSEAD, London Business School and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His work has been quoted in media outlets including the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg and many others.

Rafic holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Tenessee Technological University. He is a veteran of the semiconductor field, authoring over 60 research publications, two patents and winning several research awards including the 2002 First Citizen Research Scholar Medal and the ALCOA Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award. He has worked on research funded by DARPA, NSF, Intel, IBM, and Carolinas Medical Center among others.