The Department of Computer Science at LUMS offers a rigorous undergraduate education. Our goal is to deliver CS education that is at par or better than the world’s finest educational institutions. Our program not only prepares our students for careers in leading companies but also in carrying our world-class research. LUMS CS students have been consistently placed in leading companies across the world including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon and receive fully-funded graduate admission offers from the most prestigious universities in the world including MIT, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, CMU, UIUC, UT Austin and many others. For the last many years we have had 100% success rate for graduate admissions and job placements. As CS education is important in many other disciplines, we believe in imparting broad-based education to our students. Thus, in addition to CS courses, the students could take as many as ten courses from other departments including Management, Economics, Law, Biology, Mathematics and others, thus broadening their horizon in multiple disciplines.
There’s no doubt that social media is a microcosm of information, that covers a great swath of…
There’s no doubt that social media is a microcosm of information, that covers a great swath of topics. Tweets and touts relaying public policy, to messages that have been forwarded many times spreading misinformation regarding something as serious as COVID-19. The landscape of social media is fertile for the growth and spread of both correct and incorrect information. However, healthcare is a serious issue and laying down a misinformation mine can prove fatal in some cases. Therefore, researchers at SBASSE have created Baang – a digital platform where you use your voice to access reliable healthcare advice!
But why develop a voice-based service? Over the last two decades, voice-based social media platforms have been enabling people who are poor, remote, and low-literate to still get the benefits of the Internet. These platforms allow users to call toll-free phone numbers to record voice messages in their local language and listen to and react to messages recorded by others. Mobile Vaani connects over five million people to infotainment in the media-dark regions in India and CGNet Swara enables rural communities to listen to local news and report grievances. The paper outlines the need for creating a new, versatile application experience. Many scholars have examined the vital role that mainstream social media plays during crises and disasters, for example, by establishing rapid and direct communication channels from authorities, providing support and information to people in need, and bringing to light the challenges on the ground. However, there is a scarcity of research on how voice-based social media platforms are used during public health emergencies by users who are predominantly low-literate and low-income.
To fill this gap, the research team examined three strategies to foster engagement with and dissemination of trusted information: (1) encourage users to access a curated list of approved health guidelines, (2) provide them incentives to engage with and propagate trusted COVID content, and (3) prompt them to reflect on their COVID-related information behaviors. Over a six-month deployment, the platform received around half a million calls from 12,000 users, who were predominately low-literate, low-income men from across Pakistan, with 96% having less than ten years of education. These users recorded over 35,000 audio posts, played them over 2.4 million times, voted on them 322,000 times, and shared them with other users over 130,000 times. The paper also mentions that users approached with all three strategies showed comparatively higher engagement with authentic COVID information. The engagement was not limited to messages being played by the users and included users recording their own COVID content and engaging with and sharing credible content widely with their peers. Users adapted the platform to meet their specific informational, emotional, and instrumental needs.
Pictured above is a schematic for the user interface of Baang.
The findings highlight knowledge engagement as being more meaningful and relevant for information campaigns compared to user engagement with the platform and its features. Our work provides critical insights on how social media platforms can foster user engagement with credible content and, in doing so, makes two important contributions: (1) A six-month deployment of a voice-based social media platform in Pakistan, providing insights into how communities with low literacy rates engaged with credible health information during the COVID pandemic, (2) A mixed-methods analysis that evaluated the efficacy of three design strategies to foster user engagement with health information.
The hope is that through Baang, a major population from the global south, and especially the underserved communities within the Indo-Pak region can get reliable access to health information, navigating safely around the abyss of misinformation found in abundance across social media.
Agha Ali Raza, Mustafa Naseem, Namoos Hayat Qasmi, Shan Randhawa, Fizzah Malik, Behzad Taimur, Sacha St-Onge Ahmad, Sarojini Hirshleifer, Arman Rezaee and Aditya Vashistha, Fostering Engagement of Underserved Communities with Credible Health Information on Social Media. In Web4Good special track at TheWebConf 2022 (WWW'22), April 25 - 29, 2022, Lyon, France.
Dependency can lead to complacency. The craving to extract oil is partly derived from its…
Dependency can lead to complacency. The craving to extract oil is partly derived from its incessant need in our industrial sector. Most of the moving parts involved post industrial revolution need some form of fuel, extracted from oil. The cries of scientists from the 1980s fell on partly deaf ears, when they warned of oil scarcity, but the short-term economic benefit of ‘black gold’ was to decapitate our vision for the long term.
Many years later, the question remains still: what will be the alternate when the world runs out of oil? Fortunately, scientists who foresaw this predicament began to work on solutions that may help steer our direction to a more sustainable, renewable resource. One of the products of this enterprise were the birth of electric vehicles (EVs). These machines with futuristic, cyber-punk aesthetics come in all sizes and shapes and appeal to a wide variety of the demography. Some claim them to be a game-changer for the transport industry. Today, electric cars and their charging ports can be seen more frequently in big cities like Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad. However, like all emerging technologies, electric vehicles come with their own challenges.
Needless to say, that an electric vehicle run on batteries that store charge. With developments in battery technology, efforts have borne fruit to make them more power and cost effective. Still, the high costs of EVs make it a less attractive competitor to traditional gasoline-run cars. Moreover, the lifespan of the batteries installed in EVs are limited, which adds to the already high cost of producing (and owning!) one. Additionally, the reliability of these installed batteries needs to be improved to make charging efficient. Afterall, they compete with a most environmentally unfriendly entity - oil! It is at this junction of reliability on battery technology, and the efforts to understand their health deterioration, that we meet science superheroes from within SBASSE.
Mr. Huzaifa Rauf from the Department of Electrical Engineering, along with Dr. Naveed Arshad from the Department of Computer Science, at SBASSE, are utilizing machine learning to understand and possibly help reduce these problems around EV batteries. The team’s research is focused on lithium-ion batteries, since they are the most advanced and much-sought batteries used in EVs. Mr. Rauf’s team has used multiple machine learning methods to model parameters to understand how a battery degrades. State-of-health and remaining-useful-life are the most important parameters determining a battery’s reliability and lifespan. The team’s primary research objective is determining which machine learning method best models the battery degradation model of lithium-ion batteries. Hence, they presented battery degradation model in several machine learning methods and algorithms. The results of these models were presented to compare their accuracy, and ability to handle the complex data.
These models can also reduce the strain on laboratory-based methods for understanding battery health degradation and produce results faster. This research presented by Mr. Rauf’s team is still at its early stages. However, such tools are elemental to understand battery health and reliability, which will enable the vast use of electric vehicles.
Their most recent paper highlighting this work was published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, a 15.0 impact factor journal. We congratulate them on such a tremendous achievement and wish them best of fortune in their future work.
Huzaifa Rauf, Muhammad Khalid, Naveed Arshad, Machine learning in state of health and remaining useful life estimation: Theoretical and technological development in battery degradation modelling, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 156, 2022, 111903, ISSN 1364-0321, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2021.111903.
Remember that one day in 2021 (January 10th to be exact), when a massive power outage plunged…
Remember that one day in 2021 (January 10th to be exact), when a massive power outage plunged the entire nation into darkness?
Social media was quick to react, and “Apocalypse” started trending on Twitter. People were asking around to check whether this dark surprise was shared by others outside of a given city. After the darkness faded, it was realized the outage was due to a large grid fault. While it was received with good humor on social media, the interruption in daily activities and routine operational work caused considerable economic loss for many. Electricity is the obvious red line that runs between drivers of our country’s economy, industry, agriculture, small business and private enterprises. A jolt in it is bound to affect millions, nationwide.
In an effort to endow the work of these businesses and frontline economy drivers, the Government of Pakistan has increased its electricity generation. The providence is a welcomed gesture but comes at a high opportunity cost. Unless of course, it could be stored and used at a time of power outage. However, this would require an excess energy storage system that is remarkably more efficient in its storing capacity and is economically viable enough to be used by hundreds of millions of people. Fortunately, an interesting solution to this problem has emerged from within the depths of SBASSE, in the Department of Computer Science. Dr. Nasir Mehmood, with his supervisor, Dr. Naveed Arshad, has created an energy storage solution that might just be the breakthrough we are all looking for.
What is the hype all about? Well, Dr. Mehmood submitted the idea as his PhD thesis on a large-scale energy storage system. This system is made from many small consumer batteries, orchestrated by a single central controller. He proposed that the charging and discharging of the batteries will be handled by this central feature. It ought to charge and discharge batteries based on their weight and state of charge. Current Energy Storage Systems (ESS) lose energy while charging/discharging, due to a lack of well mediated, controlling mechanisms. Moreover, this way the system can conserve the life of each battery, making each unit an efficient, dependable and long-lasting part of the entire array.
However, technical efficiency may not always be equal to reduced costs of storing energy. What if it is more expensive to store energy than to produce it in the first place? Thus, the need of the hour called for a much more robust system in terms of energy efficiency and cost efficiency. Dr. Mehmood also analyzed the system to gauge whether it offers economic feasibility for energy distributors. He evaluated the costs for energy distributors who will be storing energy, given an excess supply. Dr. Mehmood also input electricity prices and estimated their profits in the model and deduced that this ESS would be a desirable idea not only for distributors but for consumers as well.
Dr. Mehmood’s work can prove an important intervention for Pakistan’s frail energy conditions. If researchers like Dr. Mehmood and important stakeholders from the industry, policy makers and the government at large coalesce, one can imagine what the future of our current energy depravation may look like. Thus, one can hope that in the not-so-distant-future, no one will have to suffer from the expense of days like January 10th, 2021.
Deforestation is one of the major challenges faced in Pakistan, that induces climate change,…
Deforestation is one of the major challenges faced in Pakistan, that induces climate change, which in turn is having an adverse effect not only on the country's agricultural sector but also has ramifications related to global warming, flash floods, ever-increasing landslides, and reduced tourism. Given the current situation of our forest management system which relies on manual forest-data logging techniques, can result in loss of data over time and inaccessibility of essential data. Therefore, there is a need for a central automatic system that can monitor and produce actionable statistics that can be used further for key decision making.
For this purpose, the Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering has collaborated with World Wide Fund (WWF), to develop an android-based mobile application which exploits the rise of 4G connectivity in Pakistan, so that it can be deployed in remote forest environments. For this task, a team from the Department of Computer Science has worked to create a robust software that can use computer vision to find relevant data from trees across Pakistan’s forests.
This application communicates with cloud-based system, where state-of-the-art deep-learning-based models have been deployed, to estimate crucial forest management statistics such as number of trees, and cumulative carbon content in trees. The application will assist foresters to effectively gather forest data, analyze it, and represent it at a central repository. Thus, creating the process of decision making a lot easier and faster. The application may be extended further to include other vital features required for intelligent forest inventory and healthier growth management.
Effective monitoring of forests will assist in growth of denser forests, increased employment opportunities, boosting tourism, and driving local economy.
Dr. Alizai has over 12 years of experience as a software engineer, technical lead in industry and academia. He is a prolific researcher, with interests in the Internet of Things, networks, mobile computing, and related innovative computing technologies. Dr. Alizai is also the recipient of Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence, 2022. His interest in LLI goes back during the Institute’s formative years when he participated in the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) and subsequently, as a certified instructor for ISW programs.
During the pandemic, Dr. Alizai was not only an enthusiastic participant but also led several pedagogical workshops for faculty. Dr. Alzai’s growth and impact as a computer science teacher is demonstrated by his ongoing innovation in teaching large classes and designing authentic assessments to enhance the students' learning experiences across 9 different courses in 22 sections.
His commitment and leadership to our teaching community has been evident from the get-go, given his significant contributions to the growth and development of the LLI and its programs. There are wonderful teachers at LUMS. There are fewer who have shown, repeatedly the vision and ability to do things differently in the classroom and across LUMS in ways that influence the learning experiences of students, faculty, and our wider community.
Building on the many contributions of the outgoing director, Dr. Suleman Shahid and LLI staff, and working with the current Interim Director, Dr. Launa Gauthier, Dr. Alzai wants to strengthen LLI’s engagement with each School. He wishes to further understand their needs, build school specific programs, trainings and other supports for faculty and students. Dr. Alizai is also keen on developing relationships with both public and private sector organizations.
We are pleased to welcome him aboard and look forward to his work at LUMS!
We are delighted to announce the appointment Dr. Hamad Alizai, Associate Professor,…
Seminars and Conferences
Dr. Saad Nadeem is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medical Physics and Pathology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). He completed his PhD in Computer Science from Stony Brook University in 2017 and his postdoc from MSKCC in 2019 before transitioning to an Assistant Professor position. His lab develops advanced mathematical and machine learning techniques for analyzing patient data at multiple scales (macro: radiology/radiation oncology/surgery/endoscopy, meso: pathology, and micro: molecular - genomics / proteomics / transcriptomics / metabolomics) to improve patient outcomes. The lab is specifically focused on building user-friendly tools that seamlessly fit into the clinical workflows and facilitate accurate and timely diagnosis/prognosis/decision-making while aiding in novel biomarker discovery.
Dr. Saad Nadeem is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medical Physics and Pathology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).
بہت سے لوگوں کے لیے یہ ایک حیران کن انکشاف ہو گا کہ 1900 میں امریکہ میں بنائی جانے والی کل گاڑیوں میں سے 30 فیصد بجلی پر چلنے والی گاڑیاں تھی!
یہ گاڑیاں کہاں گئیں اور کن وجوہات کی بنا پر یہ گاڑیاں متروک ہوگيں یہ موضوع ایک الگ تفصیل کا متقاضی ہے لیکن فی الحال ہماری دلچسپی کا سامان یہ ہے کہ عنقریب بجلی پر چلنے والی گاڑیاں دوبارہ اس تخت پر براجمان ہونے جا رہی ہیں جن سے کسی وقت میں انھیں معزول کر دیا گیا تھا۔
حال ہی میں امریکہ کے صدر نے اعلان کیا کہ 2030ء میں پچاس فیصد گاڑیاں بجلی پر چلنے والی ہو جائیں گے۔پاکستان کی موجودہ حکومت نے بھی بجلی پر چلنے والی گاڑیوں کے حوالہ سے اپنے اہداف مقرر کیے ہیں۔ اسی سلسلے میں USAIDکے تعاون سے پاکستان میں بھی بجلی پر چلنے والی گاڑیوں کے حوالے سے تحقیقاتی کام کا آغاز ہوا۔ اس تحقیقاتی کا بیڑہ لمز کے پروفیسر ڈاکٹر نوید ارشد نے اپنے سر لیا ۔ اس تحقیق میں پاکستان میں بجلی پر چلنے والی گاڑیوں کی موجودہ تعداد، صارفین میں اس کی مزید طلب کا رحجان، پاکستان میں کام کرنے والے بزنس ماڈل، بجلی پر چلنے والی گاڑیوں کی ممکنہ طلب اور دیگر کئی پہلووں پر روشنی ڈالی گئی۔ غرضیکہ یہ اس نوعیت کی پہلی مفصل اور جامع تحقیق ہے جس میں پاکستان میں بجلی پر چلنے والی گاڑیوں کے حوالے سے موجود تمام اہم معلومات موجود ہے۔ اس تحقیق کو مبسوط طریقے سے پیش کرنے کے لیے ایک تقریب منعقد کی گئی جس سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے ڈاکٹر نوید ارشد نے اس کی تفصیلات اور افادیت پر روشنی ڈالی۔ تقریب میں مختلف شعبہ ہائے زندگی سے لوگوں نے شرکت کی جن میں سرمایہ کار، کمپنیوں کے وفود، سرکاری ادارے، انجینئرز، اساتذہ اور طلبا نے شرکت کی۔ شرکاء کی بڑی تعداد نے لمز کے اس تحقیقی کارنامے کو نہ صرف خوش آئند قرار دیا بلکہ بجلی پر چلنے والی گاڑیوں کی ضرورت اور اہمیت پر اتفاق کیا۔
اسی سلسلے میں ڈاکٹر نوید ارشد سے جب ہماری گفتگو ہوي تو انھوں نے پر امید لہجے میں پاکستان میں بجلی پر چلنے والی گاڑیوں میں اضافے کی نوید سنائی۔ ان کے مطابق یہ تحقیق پاکستان میں ایک برقی انقلاب کا پیش خیمہ ثابت ہو گی۔
بہت سے لوگوں کے لیے یہ ایک حیران کن انکشاف ہو گا کہ 1900 میں امریکہ میں بنائی جانے والی کل گاڑیوں میں سے 30 فیصد بجلی پر چلنے والی …