Meeting Dr. Shazad
I was curious to meet a few academics while I was in Lahore. I've discovered that encountering people from different countries exposes you to ideas and perspectives you may otherwise not confront. If you're really brave, you'll be willing to have the ideas you hold dear challenged by sharp minds.
I requested that one of my uncles, Uncle Waheed, introduce me to members of the dev community in Pakistan. I haven't physically seen Uncle Waheed in a while, but we share a mutual interest in computers and programming. I used to tease him about offering to tutor me in C++. Speaking of C++, it's a language which dominates in Pakistan. I'd like to learn it, but I don't have an entire month to devote to downloading dependencies!
Despite moving to Australia long ago, Uncle Waheed keeps in touch with his friends from Pakistan, which I find admirable. Distance can magnify difficulties in maintaining bonds. He suggested that I reach out to one of his university friends, Prof. Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Shahzad Asif. Dr. Shazad, who is the head of the computer science department at University of Engineering and Technology, New Campus was kind enough to reserve some time to meet me over the weekend.
Instantly, I was struck with with the passion Dr. Shahzad exhibited for machine learning. Machine learning, a subcategory of artificial intelligence, is something I toyed with in one of the startups I worked for previously, and it's no joke! I recall spending 3-4 afternoons wading through dense documentation and messaging programmers on discord to help me infuse a project with a machine learning protocol. It worked. Barely.
Professor Shazad described the impactful research he is performing at UET, which includes examining the intersection of medicine and data science. Further, what excited me most is the professor's steadfast belief that computer science students should treat ethics seriously. This belief is particularly prescient in a world which continues to be consumed by software.
Finally, Professor Shazad offered excellent advice regarding my desire to attend grad school in the near future. Grad school is still something I'm on the fence about as I'd rather spend a couple more years in industry. We'll see.
I can't predict the future, but I know that the UET Department of Computer Science will continue to prosper under the direction of Dr. Shazad.