PhD in Computer Science
Bashir graduated with a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Bradford in 2019.
He now works in the USA as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Bashir works with some of the brightest and smartest scientists in the world, including 14 Nobel Prize winners.
Growing up in Africa, Bashir's dream was to contribute to science and the whole of humanity.
This is his story:
“I used to enjoy disassembling and taking things apart to see how they work.
“Building my first computer was an experience which really sticks out in my memory. Looking over what seemed to be a city of silicon, I was amazed at how elegantly the chips, integrated circuits, and all the components were arranged on the motherboard.
“That's how it all started, and I remember telling my parents I'd make a difference to mankind through my love of computers.”
“I earned a Bachelor's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering in Nigeria and then made the leap to the UK, where I got my Master's degree in Control Systems at the University of Sheffield.
“After a lot of research, I knew Bradford was the best place for me to complete my PhD. I wanted an environment that was supportive of my dreams and that would give me a platform to innovate. The UK is at the forefront of innovation, which is why I came here.”
“Bradford encouraged us to become the next generation of tech leaders, and my supervisors were true experts in their field. That was so important to me when choosing a university; I did all the background checks to make sure they suited my career aspirations.
“My first supervisor, Professor Irfan Awan, was a professor of computer science and an expert in performance modelling of cloud and communication networks.
“My second supervisor, Professor Hassan Ugail, was a mathematician and a computer scientist. He was internationally known for his work on computer-based human face analysis including face recognition, face ageing, emotion analysis, and lie detection. He had a huge impact on me. He consistently and passionately demonstrated the potential benefits of AI to mankind and kindled another layer of fire in me to tread this path.”
A creative, friendly city that's full of culture
“It's so creative, friendly, multicultural, inclusive, and diverse, which was very important to me.
“I lived three minutes away from campus and loved the social side of University. I played a lot of table tennis in the SU, joined the badminton society, volunteered for the Red Cross, and worked at the theatres in both Bradford and Leeds, which helped me with my public speaking skills.”
Whatever you are in to, you will find it in Bradford. It's a city full of culture, beautiful architecture, and I loved the food. You don't need lots of money either; it has much lower living costs than other parts of the UK.
A focus on employability
"You're encouraged to think differently at Bradford, and there's a focus on employability. It's one thing to train people, but another to train them to be employable.
“The University's industry collaborations are strong, and they put you in front of experts and partners to help you develop skills and hands-on experience that employers so value.”
"I always had a clear vision to get to Silicon Valley in the heart of California. I didn't know much about the USA, apart from the Kardashians, LA and Hollywood! But I knew I needed to get here.
“After completing my Ph.D., I was invited to participate in the J1-Research Scholar Exchange (RSE) programme, as a postdoctoral research scholar on the deep learning and AI high-performance network (DAHPNE) project at Berkeley Lab led by Dr. Mariam Kiran. RSE promotes the exchange of research ideas between the UK and the US, and it fitted with my purpose.
“I now work as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Scientific Data Division developing AI and machine-learning algorithms to control high-speed networks that will eventually minimise network downtime. I apply deep learning methods to create networks with improved responses for Exa scale science applications.
“In 2019 I was among six postdoctoral fellows from US National Labs invited to Washington DC to speak about their research to the Capitol Hill audience. In 2020, I was endorsed by the UK Government via Tech Nation as a world-leading exceptional talent in Digital Technology.”
I led a team of fellow PhD computer scientists at the University who created the UK's first university-based cloud computing facility, BradStack. It meant that Bradford was able to host data securely without using any external provider.
A data-driven future
“Clive Humby once said, ‘data is like the new oil’.
“For anyone wanting to study Computer Science, my advice would be to specialise and acquire data science, machine learning or AI skills, because the world is more data-driven than ever. That is the future and how I landed my job in the US. I'm so grateful to my professor who introduced me to the world of AI.
“You have to believe in yourself and your talent because Bradford certainly does. It gave me the opportunity to unlock my potential in the field of AI and helped me get to the United States. I've just applied for my Green Card to stay here now.”