Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Inter-Disciplinary and Multi-Disciplinary PhD Research

As I look back I am trying to connect the dots that I have been trying to follow the footsteps of Prof Dr JC Browne at UT Austin, TX, in multidisciplinary research. He was, my PhD Supervisor during 1990-95 whose pic is here:







JC Browne's students were from electrical and computer engineering department, computer science department, aerospace department, economics and other departments as described below. Browne received the 2004 University of Texas at Austin Career Research Excellence Award for maintaining a superior research program across multiple fields over a 45-year career.


Browne’s research over five decades has spanned many domains in computer and computational science including many cross-disciplinary collaborations with physicists and engineers on topics ranging from binary black holes to control systems for prostate cancer treatments.
Browne has attained fellow status in five different professional societies across several areas including the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute for Constructive Capitalism.

JC's areas of focus spread far and wide. One day during our CODE Research group meetings the discussion shifted to the area of hardware performance from our usual area of focus of Visual and Parallel Programming. A group member who was a post doc (Dr Ravi Rao) made a remark saying that he thought none of the people in this group seems to be qualified to speak in this particular area. JC calmly listened to the member completing his remark and then said "Gentlemen, you may not know that around 2 decades ago in the early 1970s, this precisely was my area of research! Several of my PhD researchers's topic belonged to this particular area."

Thereafter when we made a few inquiries, we found that his areas of specializations spread far and wide. Parallel and Visual Programming was only one of the groups. He had research groups in Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering and even pure Mathematics and Physics running in parallel. There were several areas which he had explored and left behind.

Browne received the 2004 University of Texas at Austin Career Research Excellence Award for maintaining a superior research program across multiple fields over a 45-year career during which he supervised or co-supervised the Ph.D. research of 69 students in four different fields.

About James C. Browne

James C. (Jim) Browne, one of the original members of the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at Austin. Jim was an institution at the departmental and the university level, being a faculty member at the university for more than 45 years. He was a past Professor of Computer Science and Physics and holder of the Regents Chair #2 in Computer Science. He was the first permanent chairperson for the department and served as chair three times. Browne was also the founding director for the computing centre at Queens University Belfast in Northern Ireland.

He attained fellow status in five different professional societies and areas: the Association for Computing Machinery, the British Computer Society, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute for Constructive Capitalism.
Browne published about 500 papers over his 50-year research career and in 2004 received The University of Texas at Austin Career Research Excellence Award for maintaining a superior research program over many years.

But the accomplishments of which Browne was most proud are serving as the supervisor or co-supervisor for the graduate studies of 68 Ph.D. students and 65 master’s degree students and for a substantial number of undergraduate honors theses. He has also served on several hundred Ph.D. supervision committees across multiple disciplines.
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Dr Irfan Hyder, A Humble Student of JC Browne:

Before my MBA in 1987, I had done BE Electronic Engineering in 1985. After MBA, I did my MS Computer Engineering in 1989 and after that PhD in Computer Science in 1994. My research areas include parallel computing, electrical engineering, software engineering, energy management, MIS and ERP, Experiential Learning, Higher Education, School Education, Strategic Management, Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Business research,...

See Also: 

What is PhD?
Why PhD is Difficult: 
Starting with your PhD
Reading Research and Writing Your Research 
Qualitative Learning from a PhD
Myths: 


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Irfan Husain, Mazdak, Begum & Akhtar Husain Raipuri and Zafar Umar

I have been reading Mazdak/ Irfan Husain's articles in Dawn for last 20+ years. Although I often disagreed with his opinions but yet used to read them regularly. 
Son of acclaimed writers Akhtar Husain Raipuri and Begum Hameeda Akhtar Husain Raipuri. Begum Hameeda Akhtar, an acclaimed writer herself was daughter of Zufar Umar author of نیلی چھتری famed detective books. Zafar Umar was the first اردو writer of genre of detective fiction.

When Begum Hameeda Akhtar published her first  book after the death of her husband, my mother and sister who read her autobiographical book wanted to meet her. We went to her house behind چیل والی کوٹھی
off khalid bin walid road near Paramount Book store on  Sufi Street, one lane off main Khalid Bin Waleed Road, PECHS, Karachi.Thereafter we went a few times and enjoyed her company. Great woman. Currently brother of Irfan Husain lives in that house. 

Dawn columnist Irfan Husain passed away early Wednesday in Dorset, England, his family said.
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In a tweet, his son Shakir Husain said he was grateful his father "slipped away gently" and that he was able to be with him. "See you on the other side, Abba."

In a column in Dawn published earlier this year in August, Husain had said that he had been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer nearly three years ago.

"After nearly three years of this barrage, I must confess there are times I wish it would just end quietly without fuss. But then I look outside the window and see the flowers, trees and birds in our garden, and I am happy to be still alive," he wrote in the column.

#DawnToday
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Published 17 Dec, 2020 07:29am
Columnist Irfan Husain passes away
FROM THE NEWSPAPER
KARACHI: Columnist, author and a global citizen as he used to describe himself, Irfan Husain, passed away early Wednesday in Dorset, England. He was 76.

Husain wrote weekly col­­­umns for Dawn and in one such write-up publish­­ed in August, he shared with readers that he had been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer three years ago, according to Dawn.com.

He wrote for weekly Outlook, The Star and later Dawn under various pseudonyms. His writings were never soft on governments and often evoked strong reactions.

He joined the civil service in 1967 after obtaining a master’s degree in economics, while also pursuing his love for writing.

He served as culture secretary, information minister and also a diplomat in Washington for a short span before his retirement in 1997.

Born into a family in Amritsar, where reading, art, culture and discussions were encouraged, Husain was educated in Paris, Ankara and Karachi. His family migrated to Pakistan at the time of independence.

Besides his taste for literature, art and music, he was also known for his love for culinary. He wrote on food and occasionally shared his culinary expertise through Dawn EOS’ Epicurious column.

In 2012, he authored a book titled Fatal Faultlines: Pakistan, Islam and the West. At its launch, he described the thought of writing a book as ‘frightening’ since he had been mostly writing columns. According to Husain, his book was primarily intended for a Western audience and for them to understand how they were viewed by the Muslim world, but at the same time, it was an attempt to explain to Muslim readers why they were viewed so negatively in the West.

According to the publisher Harper Collins, Husain pursued a parallel and covert career as a freelance journalist for most of his working life, writing under a succession of pseudonyms. He divided his time between the UK, Pak­istan and Sri Lanka since 2002, the publisher said.

In one of his recent columns for Dawn years after being diagnosed with cancer, Husain said: “After nearly three years of this barrage, I must confess there are times I wish it would just end quietly without fuss. But then I look outside the window and see the flowers, trees and birds in our garden, and I am happy to be still alive.”

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2020

Sunday, December 13, 2020

My Wing Sung Pen

Wing Sung Pen. Fountain pen. 
Tons of hard work and cherished memories with this friend. 
I got one in 1975, when I was in 8th class, this same color, and it remained in my use till 1987. All my exams: Matric, Inter (HSC1 and HSC2), Engineering (40 course papers), MBA (20 courses papers) and their preparatory work on reams and reams of paper was done with that one pen. I left it in my stuff when I went to USA in 1987. Remember seeing it when I returned in 1995. Then I don't know where it vanished. May be it is there somewhere in that old stuff. 

I remember the smoothness with which it would glide on the paper. It's nib due to long use had become thick. But, it flowed in my hands.