Sara Al-Sayed is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Program on Science and Global Security (SGS) at Princeton University. She received her B.Sc. degree from the German University in Cairo, Egypt, M.Sc. degree from Universität Ulm, Germany, and Ph.D. degree from Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany – all in communications engineering, with the focus of her Ph.D. dissertation being on statistical data processing. After an appointment as a postdoctoral research and teaching associate at Technische Universität Darmstadt, she picked up an M.A. program in philosophy of technology at the same university.

Research Interests

The verification of states’ compliance with nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament treaty obligations has always posed technical and political challenges. A largely neglected avenue to address some of these challenges is societal verification, in which civil society organizations and individuals play a direct role in verifying treaty compliance by their own state. My research centers on how new and emerging information technologies and procedures can support data collection, analysis, and secure reporting to empower civil society and whistle-blowers with regard to nuclear arms control, non-proliferation, and disarmament verification, including through the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Concurrently, I am writing my master’s thesis on the relationship between societal verification and the entrenchment of the nuclear order, using approaches from philosophy of technology.

Recently, I started a project on assessing the robustness of military autonomous drone swarms to electronic warfare from a statistical signal processing perspective.

I am also managing SGS’s Curriculum Resources Project, which aims to contribute to efforts countering racism and other structures of exclusion and domination in teaching and research on nuclear issues.


S. Al-Sayed, A. Glaser, and Z. Mian, “Societal Verification of Nuclear Disarmament in the 21st Century – A Workshop Report,” Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament6 (2), December 2023, pp. 365–375.

A. Malhotra, A. Suriyasenee, S. Al-Sayed, S. Verlaan, D. Ajudeonu, H. Saadia, and M. Faines, “The Ultimate Coloniser: Challenging Racism and White Supremacy in Nuclear Weapons Policy Making,” in De-siloing Existential Threats: Challenging Identity, Power, and Inclusivity in the Nuclear Policy Field, BASIC (2023): 36–46.

J. Hoster, S. Al-Sayed, F. Biessmann, A. Glaser, K. Hildebrand, I. Moric, and T.V. Nguyen, “Using Game Engines and Machine Learning to Create Synthetic Satellite Imagery for a Tabletop Verification Exercise,” in Proc. Institute of Nuclear Materials Management Annual Meeting, Vienna, Austria, May 2023.

S. Al-Sayed, How civil society can help monitor and verify nuclear arms control,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, February 23, 2023.

S. Al-Sayed, “Revisiting Societal Verification for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Arms Control: The Search for Transparency,” Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament, 5 (2), October 2022, pp. 496–506.

S. Al-Sayed, “Four key obstacles for the zone and efforts to overcome them,” METO Student Journal of WMD Disarmament and Security in the Middle East, February 2022.

S. Al-Sayed and H. Koeppl, “Network reconstruction from time-course perturbation data using multivariate Gaussian processes,” in Proc. IEEE International Workshop on Machine Learning for Signal Processing, Aalborg, Denmark, September 2018.

S. Al-Sayed, J. Plata-Chaves, M. Muma, M. Moonen, and A. M. Zoubir, “Node-specific diffusion LMS-based distributed detection over adaptive networks,” IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, 66 (3), February 2018.

S. Al-Sayed, A. M. Zoubir, and A. H. Sayed, “Robust distributed estimation by networked agents,” IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, 65 (15), August 2017.

S. Al-Sayed, Robust adaptation and learning over networks, PhD dissertation, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany, 2016.

S. Al-Sayed, A. M. Zoubir, and A. H. Sayed, “Robust adaptation in impulsive noise,” IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, 64 (11), June 2016.

M. R. Balthasar, S. Al-Sayed, S. Leier, and A. M. Zoubir, “Optimal area coverage in autonomous sensor networks,” in Proc. International Conference on Underwater Acoustics, Rhodes, Greece, June 2014.

S. Al-Sayed, A. M. Zoubir, and A. H. Sayed, “Robust distributed detection over adaptive diffusion networks,” in Proc. IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing, Florence, Italy, May 2014.

S. Al-Sayed, A. M. Zoubir, “An optimal error nonlinearity for robust adaptation against impulsive noise,” in Proc. IEEE International Workshop on Signal Processing Advances in Wireless Communications, Darmstadt, Germany, June 2013.

S. Al-Sayed and A. Sezgin, “Secrecy in Gaussian MIMO bidirectional broadcast wiretap channels: Transmit strategies,” in Proc. Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems, and Computers, Pacific Grove, CA, USA, November 2010.


Panel remarks at From Boots on the Ground to Bots on the Ground? Tradeoffs of Moving Away from On-Site Inspections Workshop sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington D.C., February 7–8, 2024.

“Citizen Science, OSINT, and Arms Control Verification,” IANUS Peace Lab Seminar Series, Darmstadt, Germany, December 4, 2023.

“Rethinking Nuclear Disarmament Verification: Revisiting Societal Verification,” Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, United Nations, August 23, 2022.

Tinkering for Peace, European Citizen Science Association Webinar, May 24, 2022.

“Rethinking Societal Verification,” Science, Peace, Security Conference, Aachen, Germany, September 2021.