Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane - Spotlights


Dr. Benamar and Dr. Rachidi Publish New Paper on Deep and Reinforcement Learning Approaches in Autonomous Driving

Dr. Benamar and Dr. Rachidi, from the School of Science and Engineering (SSE), recently published a paper titled "A Comprehensive Survey on the Application of Deep and Reinforcement Learning Approaches in Autonomous Driving" in the Journal of King Saud University - Computer and Information Sciences. This journal has an impact factor of 13.473, ranking it 2 out of 162 in Computer Science, Information Systems. 


This paper is an attempt to survey all recent AI-based techniques used to deal with major functions in AVs, namely scene understanding, motion planning, decision making, vehicle control, social behavior, and communication. Our survey focuses solely on deep learning and reinforcement learning based approaches. It builds a taxonomy of DL and RL algorithms that have been used so far to bring solutions to the four main issues in autonomous driving. 


Dr. Iraqi Houssaini Publishes a New Article on Collaboratice Cloud-based Self-protecting Software Communities in Computers & Security

Dr. Omar Iraqi Houssaini, lecturer at the Al Akhawayn University (AUI) School of Science and Engineering (SSE), recently published an article titled "Communizer: A collaborative cloud-based self-protecting software communities framework – Focus on the alert coordination system" in the journal Computers & Security. This is a Q1 journal with an H-index of 92, and an impact factor of 4.438.


Popular software has always been appealing to adversaries, as related vulnerabilities are synonymous with millions of exposed businesses. Collaborative intrusion detection, as well as software self-protection, try to alleviate this situation. However, they lack either autonomy and adaptation, or Internet-scale oversight and mitigation. In this work, we present Communizer: a collaborative cloud-based framework that creates communities of self-protecting software across organizations. It allows community members to turn their common weaknesses into collaborative and proactive self-protection, empowering them to detect intrusions, exchange alerts, and anticipate attacks. We start by integrating multiple autonomic MAPE-K loops through cloud-based coordination, and a novel hierarchical, regional coordination pattern (HRCP), optimizing scalability, resiliency, accuracy, and privacy. Then, we design a trust-based multi-level alert coordination system (TMACS), as well as a lightweight alert coordination message exchange format (ACMEF). At its core, TMACS aggregates, validates, and shares security alerts among community members while fostering agreement and managing trust. It also addresses insider attacks by detecting and blacklisting rogue members. Moreover, TMACS identifies and neutralizes selfish members through a specifically designed probabilistic model. The analysis, optimization, and evaluation of TMACS show a good trade-off between the precision and recall of untrustworthy and selfish members detection. More importantly, we demonstrate a drastic reduction of monitoring loads on community members while ensuring a high collaborative attack detection and anticipation rate, even for small-scope attacks. 

More details can be found at:

PiP Publishes Third Issue of their Newsletter


The March issue of the PiP Newsletter is out and available on the PiP webpage! This is the third issue that the 2021-2022 Cohort has released. As they are preparing for their upcoming departures and farewells, the Presidential Interns shared a moment to reminisce on their time here and tell us about some of their recent travels around the country. 

This issue focused on reflection: the various interns shared their experiences of living and working in Morocco, and they shared how they have learned and grown from their experiences living here. The Presidential Intern for the Accreditation Steering Committee, Simon Bruns, reflected on how fortunate and joyful he felt to be able to explore an almost-empty Marrakech, but at the same time, felt guilty because you could really see how the border closures had taken a toll on the local economy, as Marrakech largely depends on tourism. Another intern, Frida Terrazas-Carrillo, Presidential Intern for the Office of the VPAA, reflected on the similarities between Morocco and her home country, Mexico, saying that Morocco reminded her a lot of home. The interns shared pictures of their travels to Marrakech, Rabat, Essaouira, Tamraght, and Ouarzazate. The interns also shared about the books they've been reading recently, such as Fatema Mernissi's Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood and Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society, which Carmen-Irina Bulac, Presidential Intern for the University Honors Program, describes as helping her rethink the way she views feminism, modernity, tradition, and the relationships between them. 

More details can be found at: 

The previous issues can be found at: 


Dr. Therrien Co-edited a New Collective Book – Mixed Families in a Transnational World

Dr. Catherine Therrien (AUI) recently co-edited a collective book with Dr. Josiane Le Gall (Université de Montréal) and Dr. Karine Geoffrion (Université Laval). This book, entitled Mixed families in a Transnational World, is available at the Mohamed VI library.

Featuring nine rich ethnographic studies situated in geographic areas less covered by scholarship on mixed families such as Québec, Morocco, Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, the Philippines, Thailand, and Israel, the book’s contributions reveal how families’ everyday lives are shaped by historical and sociopolitical contexts, as well as by transnational dynamics and mobility trajectories. The studies illustrate the context-specific realities that shape social definitions of mixedness—whether religious, national, cultural, ethnic or racial—at local and transnational levels.  

Dr. Khalid Loudiyi Co-Publishes Paper on Solar Silicone-Based Photovoltaic Technology

Dr. Khalid Loudiyi, Professor at the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) at AUI, published an article in the journal Renewable Energyon the 11th of February. The article is titled “Long-term Performance and Degradation of Different PV Modules Under Temperate Climate” and is a collaborative work between faculty for other universities in Morocco, such as Dr. Arechkik Ameur from the SSE at AUI and the International University of Rabat, Dr. Asmae Berrada from the International University of Rabat, and Dr. Abdellatif Bouaichi from the Department of Physics at the Moulay Ismail University of Meknes and the Research Institute for Solar Energy and New Energies in Benguerir, Morocco. This journal is indexed in various international databases and has an Impact Factor of 8.001. 

The authors note that Africa has a high solar potential and solar energy is thus one of the foremost renewable energy sources to use on the continent. The purpose of this paper is to research and compare how different silicon-based solar photovoltaic technologies - which include monocrystalline (m-Si), polycrystalline (p-Si), and amorphous (a-Si) modules - perform and degrade in the long term. The performance indicators they used for this study included AC energy production, reference yield, final yield, performance ratio, temperature corrected performance ratio, degradation rate, and Levelized cost of energy. They used data collected from PV installations at AUI’s grounds, from January 2015 until December 2020. Based on the results for each of these indicators, the authors determined that the polycrystalline module is the most suitable and optimal PV technology for mountain climate conditions.

More details can be found at: