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At Cisco, graduating Ph.D. data scientist can predict outcomes using artificial intelligence

LA Warren NUByline2018

As a data scientist for IT giant Cisco in San Jose, California, graduating JSU Ph.D. student Md Atiqur Rahman is creating artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to save the company money, generate revenue and improve the customer experience.

“I’m able to help automate lots of human-involved tasks as a result of my AI/ML (machine-learning) skills and determine what’s most important by assessing the company’s needs,” said Rahman, a native of Habiganj, Bangladesh. He’s been in the U.S for nearly six years.

Rahman will be part of the upcoming 2020 commencement ceremony. He’s a student in the Department of Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering in Jackson State University’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

Jackson State University Ph.D. student Md Atiqur Rahman uses his skills to solve real-world problems and make people’s lives easier. He’s a data scientist working at Cisco in San Jose, California. His degree is in Computational and Data-Enabled Science in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

Jackson State University Ph.D. student Md Atiqur Rahman uses his skills to solve real-world problems and make people’s lives easier. He’s a data scientist working at Cisco in San Jose, California. His degree is in Computational and Data-Enabled Science in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

As part of Cisco’s research and innovation team, Rahman is working to understand, apply and improve algorithms related to “predictive maintenance, anomaly detection, root-cause analysis and recommender systems.” This allows Rahman, among other things, to answer questions such as “how long will it be before a particular event occurs?” It also helps him “figure out its root cause,” enabling him to recommend appropriate actions that should be taken to avoid a recurrence.

ADDITIONALLY, Rahman analyzes large amounts of data to predict which of the company’s technological devices is close to crashing or will require impending maintenance; and this helps the company to “avoid future service requests from customers and saves time and money for both the customer and Cisco.”

When asked what he enjoys most about his work, the soon-to-be Ph.D. graduate said, “It always involves thinking out of the box and bringing data-driven innovative solutions that nobody has imagined before.”

Since data science — especially as it pertains to AI and ML — is being applied in every domain of research and industry, Rahman’s technical areas of interests are varied and include everything from bioinformatics to cybersecurity to predictive maintenance. The latter, especially, helps data scientists become technical decision-makers, giving them the ability to solve real-world problems and make people’s lives easier. And this, Rahman said, is what drives him to continue in the field of data science.

While he just started his career, Rahman may never be out of a job because AI and ML are being applied practically in every domain of research and industry, thus opening up many career opportunities. To illustrate, he said data scientists can generate results that recommend friends to users on various social media platforms. As well, they can also work in the field of bioinformatics to locate mutating cancer genes by analyzing patients with similar gene makeup.

Rahman said his ability to accomplish various tasks has a lot to do with the teachings and trainings gained through JSU. He said the HBCU prepared him for Cisco. “While attending JSU, I had the opportunity to research real-world problems under the guidance of my professors.”

Rahman said his ability to accomplish various tasks has a lot to do with the teachings and trainings gained through JSU. He said the HBCU prepared him for Cisco. “While attending JSU, I had the opportunity to research real-world problems under the guidance of my professors.”

Academically speaking, Rahman explains his research work in his dissertation: Application of Centrality Metrics for Complex Network Analysis.

“I researched the extent to which vertices in a complex network are logically clusterable on the basis of their similarity to the values incurred for one or more node-level metrics,” he said.

As an example, he explained, “If I were to apply my research on the COVID-19 situation, it would mean finding similar countries/cities/regions by the risk of the spread of the disease and then implementing necessary measures. This might mean, for instance, providing more medical support such as equipment, testing kits, medicine, doctors, nurses, etc. to regions that appear to be at higher risk.”

RAHMAN’s skills and accomplishments have a lot to do with the teachings and trainings gained through JSU. He said the HBCU prepared him for Cisco.

“While attending JSU, I had the opportunity to research real-world problems under the guidance of my professors.” He especially cited the support from his adviser and committee chair, Dr. Natarajan Meghanathan, for aiding in the completion of his doctoral research. He said JSU also exposed him to the different opportunities available in the field of data science and helped get his work published.

In addition, he said, “The coursework strengthened my analytical skills and my research enabled me to apply those skills. I was able to attend different conferences and present my findings, which allowed me to network with many professionals and market myself.”

After grinding many days and nights toward his Ph.D., Rahman is now able to take part in other exciting activities. While he continues to read about the latest technological findings and inventions, he’s also able to focus on another interest – music. “I actually taught myself to play the guitar a few years ago and like to strum it every once in a while.”

Beyond that, Rahman will continue to watch more of his favorite movies — especially the “Avengers” series — and delve into more Bengali novels since Bangla is his first language. He’ll also continue hiking on the many nature trails in California. He said the outdoors is his therapy to “de-stress and reflect” from the rigors of his job.

In addition, he may consider teaching and operating his own company. And, he wants other students to dream big, too.

“Take advantage of every opportunity that JSU has to offer. The things you’re able to do while at JSU, like attending a conference free of cost or at a reduced cost, for instance, is something you may not be able to do after you graduate. Expand your knowledge and horizon by networking with as many individuals as possible,” Rahman said.