Dr. Anas bin Faris Al-Faris, head of King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology

Dr. Anas bin Faris Al-Faris
Updated 10 November 2019

Dr. Anas bin Faris Al-Faris, head of King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology

Dr. Anas bin Faris Al-Faris has been appointed the chief of King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) by royal decree. 

Al-Faris is also an associate professor at KACST and a visiting associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.

Prior to his latest promotion, he was the vice president of the research institute at KACST. He has served in this position since 2018.

Al-Faris is a member of the Global Research Council, a board member at the Saudi Arabia Advanced Research Alliance, and the National Digital Transformation Executive Committee.

He has broad research experience in diverse fields including big data analytics, strategic engineering and systems architecture.

At KACST, he founded the Joint Centers of Excellence Program, which includes 14 joint centers with leading universities in the US and UK such as MIT, Stanford, Caltech, Berkeley, Oxford and Cambridge. 

He is also the founder of the Center for Complex Engineering Systems at KACST and MIT as well as the Decision Support Center of KACST and Boeing.  Al-Faris created the Technical Leaders Program to train and qualify the new generation to become leaders.

He holds a Ph.D. in design computation and a master’s degree in computation for design and optimization from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

He also has two other master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania — a master of science computational design systems and a master of architecture in building technology. 


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.