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UW ECE alumni Basel Alomair and Victor Wong receive 2022 Diamond Awards

June 2, 2022

Adapted from the UW College of Engineering website

2022 Diamond Awards on a table

Two outstanding UW ECE alumni, Basel Alomair (Ph.D. ‘11) and Victor Wong (BSEE ‘89), were recently named 2022 Diamond Award recipients by the UW College of Engineering. Pictured above, 2022 Diamond Awards on a table at the awards ceremony. Photo by Matt Hagen, courtesy of the UW College of Engineering.

Two outstanding UW ECE alumni, Basel Alomair (Ph.D. ‘11) and Victor Wong (BSEE ‘89), were recently named 2022 Diamond Award recipients by the UW College of Engineering. The Diamond Awards honors outstanding alumni and friends of the College who have made significant contributions to the field of engineering. An awards ceremony was held on Friday, May 20 in Seattle.

“We’re so proud of Basel and Victor and all they have achieved in their careers,” said UW ECE Professor and Chair Eric Klavins. “Diamond Awards are reserved for exceptional individuals who have had meaningful impact, and we are thrilled that our alums are receiving this recognition from the College.”

Read on to learn more about Alomair, Wong and their career achievements.

Basel Alomair

Diamond Award — Dean’s Award

Professor and Founding Director, National Center for Cybersecurity Technologies, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology

Basel Alomair speaking at a podium

Basel Alomair speaking at the 2022 Diamond Award ceremony. Photo by Matt Hagen, courtesy of the UW College of Engineering.

For anyone who sends text messages or email over a public network, Basel Alomair has helped to make information safer against hackers. A pioneer in the field of cybersecurity for large-scale systems, Alomair’s award-winning and patented work building cryptographic schemes is used by numerous companies to protect millions of consumers.

While studying at the UW, Alomair developed efficient security algorithms and protocols for private communications in public or unsecured wireless networks. His groundbreaking work to develop novel schemes for authentication led to patents and commercialization through UW’s CoMotion. His technical contributions have received multiple awards from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). His work to develop a privacy-preserving protocol received a U.S. patent and led to the prestigious William C. Carter Award from IEEE and the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) for significant contribution to the field of dependable computing. His algorithm for secure authentication resulted in a new generalization of a theoretical equation by 18th century mathematician Etienne Bezout, for which Basel received the UW EE Outstanding Research Award. His doctoral dissertation resulted in a total of 18 scientific publications and multiple patents, earning him the Distinguished Dissertation Award from the Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity at the UW.

Photo 1: Basel Almoair with UW ECE leadership, Photo 2: Basel Alomair receiving his award from Dean Nancy Allbritton, Photo 3: Basel Alomair with his wife and son at the awards ceremony

From left to right, first photo: UW ECE Professor and Chair Eric Klavins, UW ECE Professor and former Chair Radha Poovendran, Basel Alomair, UW ECE Professor James Ritcey, UW ECE Associate Professor, Associate Chair for Education and Industry Liaison Payman Arabshahi. Second photo, upper right: UW College of Engineering Dean Nancy Allbritton presents Alomair with the Dean’s Diamond Award. Third photo, lower right: Alomair, along with his wife and son, who both attended the award ceremony. Photos by Matt Hagen, courtesy of the UW College of Engineering.

At King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Alomair has focused on optimizing dynamics and control to ensure the security of complex networks and computer systems, earning him the Early Career Award in Cybersecurity by the National Security Agency (NSA) / Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research. Alomair’s impact is widely felt across Saudi Arabia, where he is helping to develop new security protocols, file patents and implement these protocols into national communications systems.

At the same time, he has advocated for gender diversity in STEM by supporting progress for female researchers in Saudi Arabia. As the founder of the National Center for Cybersecurity Technologies (C4C), the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, Alomair has helped to advance cybersecurity research and educate the next generation of cybersecurity experts, creating opportunities for women to advance in the field. Under his leadership, the C4C was the first technical center to allow men and women to perform research together, with several women from the C4C going on to hold leadership positions at the national level.

Victor Wong

Diamond Award — Entrepreneurial Excellence

Founder, vfxNova Digital Productions Ltd.

Victor Wong sitting at a desk with a paintbrush, next to an A.I. calligraphy arm

Victor Wong in his studio. Wong is a cross-media artist and digital arts pioneer whose thirty-year career has fused new technologies with traditional media. He has produced 800 TV advertisements and participated in the production of visual effects for more than 100 films including ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Men in Black 3’ and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D.’ Photo still from video, courtesy of the UW College of Engineering.

Victor Wong is a cross-media artist and digital arts pioneer whose thirty-year career has fused new technologies with traditional media. As the founder of a groundbreaking visual effects company, he helped establish Hong Kong as a global leader in entertainment technology, including creating the first CGI TV commercial in China.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the UW, Wong returned to Hong Kong to apply his engineering skills to the film and video industries. He had the foresight to create Hong Kong’s first computer graphics and visual effects house, vfxNova. His company developed the hardware and software necessary to advance CGI for the film industry, and the technology was applied to hundreds of feature films, television productions, commercials and blockbuster video games. Today, vfxNova employs more than 150 artists and engineers with design houses in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Foshan.

Over the years, Wong has produced 800 TV advertisements and participated in the production of visual effects for more than 100 films including ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Men in Black 3’ and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D.’ Following his success in mainstream film and advertising, Wong combined his interests in technology and art to create A.I. Gemini, a robot that uses artificial intelligence to generate traditional Chinese ink paintings. A.I. Gemini’s works are valued at over $1 million, with collectors worldwide.

Photo of a robotic arm doing chinese painting

Following his success in mainstream film and advertising, Wong combined his interests in technology and art to create A.I. Gemini, a robot that uses artificial intelligence to generate traditional Chinese ink paintings. A.I. Gemini’s works are valued at over $1 million, with collectors worldwide. Photo still from video, courtesy of the UW College of Engineering.

Wong has applied his engineering background to create art that entertains and inspires — including the next generation of visual artists. He founded a VFX education center, which has trained close to 1,000 CGI artists. He is the recipient of numerous international awards from the New York Festival Awards, Tokyo JIAA Advertising Awards, Hong Kong Film Awards and the Golden Horse Awards. Thanks to his innovative and entrepreneurial vision, Wong’s impact is felt around the world.

Learn more about the UW College of Engineering’s Diamond Awards on the CoE website.