Bar-Ilan University | President’s Report 2022

14 3 newways that Bar-Ilan is expanding its engineering faculty CB4, a predictive-technology company founded by Bar-Ilan engineer Dr. Gonen Singer, is proof that AI andmachine learning combined with systems optimization is the future of retail. The startup, whose software identifies issues that hold back sales in stores, gas stations, and even cellular companies and cafes, was acquired by theAmerican retail giant Gap Inc. this past year. And while that might be bad news for our wallets, it could be very good for our health: Bar-Ilan engineer Dr. Izack Cohen is using the same science to prevent “bed blocking” in hospitals, a situation in which patients who are ready to be discharged must remain until an opening at a geriatric institution can be found. Through modeling, process management, and systems optimization, Cohen’s software can help the healthcare system work more efficiently—and provide better care for everyone. Singer and Cohen are both researchers in Bar-Ilan’s new Industrial Engineering and Information Systems (IEIS) Program, whichopened in theAlexander KofkinFaculty of Engineering this past year. Featuring courses frommathematics, programming, data science, and machine learning to behavioral science and financial management, the program—the only one in the country to combine both specialties—“will train engineers who can bring together various fields when planning or optimizing processes,” explains Cohen, who serves as IEIS’s head. Aswell as carrying out cutting-edge research, these engineers “canoccupy key positions in Israel’s high-tech sector.” Indeed, the program’s faculty includes researchers with significant experience in the industry. The IEIS program is just one of a number of ways that Bar-Ilan’s Alexander Kofkin Faculty of Engineering is expanding—and just one of the reasons that it was recently ranked the country’s leading such faculty.* This year, it also gained three new study tracks, including one in computer hardware and chip design, an area “essential to Israel’s security,” says Dean of the Faculty Prof. Zeev Zalevksy. Explaining that the country that controls this manufacturing—which is currently China—can choke the economic andmilitary powers of other countries, Zalevsky says that the decision to invest in this area of engineering reflects the faculty’s commitment to advancing the national interest on the one hand, and to growing expertise in areas likely to become critical down the road. Like predictive technology for academia? Zalevsky, an electrooptics engineer by training, says that Singer and Cohen might take issuewith the term. “But,” he smiles, “it’s not a bad analogy.” *According to the 2019 TimesHigher EducationWorldUniversity Rankings. What would you say are the chances you’ll buy that shirt you like at themall?Or that you’ll choose to fill up at that particular station—or order a coffeewhile youwait? Youmake think they’re low, but predictive technology may surprise you. And chances are, that technology is right. The Alexander Kofkin Faculty of Engineering