Career Profiles

Explore profiles of real professionals and students to learn how they got started, what they love about computing, and all about the fascinating work they do.
Asad Ullah Naweed

Asad Ullah Naweed

MS/PhD Candidate, Computer Science, Chapel Hill, United States

Degree(s):

BS Computer Science 2012 Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan
MS/PhD Candidate, Computer Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Do what you love. Period. You may do well in many fields, but passion is a prerequisite for excellence. And excel in whatever you do. There is simply no excuse for living your life in the shadows of mediocrity.”

As a freshman, I wanted to major in mathematics or physics. However, everything changed after being introduced to programming in my second semester. Computers were suddenly tools to CREATE things. Programming suddenly opened up a whole new realm of possibilities, where I could imagine an idea one day, and pilot it the next. That is why I chose CS, and why I love it to this day.

I owe a lot to two professors; Dr. Sohaib Ahmad Khan and Dr. Arif Zaman. Their continuous guidance and support helped hone my skills and use these to excel in my studies.

My day starts with breakfast, doing house chores, then heading to school. I work in the Computer Vision lab on course projects and homework and maybe watch an episode of Supernatural with other students.

Classes are over by 3.pm. After lunch I attend to events at the department like organizing workshops on iOS development, helping with seminars or catering to external department guests. I also serve as a TA.

Since I love cooking, my favorite weekends are spent barbecuing for friends and family at my small farm on the outskirts of Lahore

I love to travel. I’ve been on many trips; Model UN conferences in Turkey, rock climbing to Khanpur, skiing trips to Rattu, leisure trips to the gorgeous island of Langkawi, and trips to Bahrain and Singapore. My dream is to brave the journey to the Antarctic, which I hope to achieve soon! I am also a video games freak. I still have possession of every single Nintendo console since the first generation. I also love to read.

Graduation

With classmates

Studying

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Jean Sammet

Jean E. Sammet was one of the first developers and researchers in programming languages. During the 1950’s - 1960’s she supervised the first scientific programming group for Sperry Gyroscope Co. and served as a key member of the original COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) committee at Sylvania Electric Products. She also taught one of the first graduate programming courses in the country at Adelphi College. After joining IBM in 1961, she developed and directed the first FORMAC (FORmula MAnipulation Compiler). This was the first widely used general language and system for manipulating nonnumeric algebraic expressions. In 1979 she began handling Ada activities for IBM’s Federal Systems Division. Ada is a structured, object-oriented high-level computer programming language, designed for large, long-lived applications, where reliability and efficiency are paramount. Jean has a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and an M.A. from the University of Illinois, both in Mathematics. She received an honorary D.Sc. from Mount Holyoke (1978).

Cursor
James Dammann

If you have used a word processor today, moved your mouse on your laptop, dragged an object around on your smartphone, or highlighted a section of text on your tablet, you can thank Jim Dammann. In 1961 during his second year at IBM and just one year after completing his PhD, Jim created the concept of what today we all take for granted -- the cursor. This idea he documented in utilizing the cursor within word processing operations.

After retiring from IBM, Jim went on to inspire future generations of software engineers at Florida Atlantic University. His work there too demonstrated his creativity for he spent considerable effort enhancing their software engineering program by integrating ideas and feedback from local industries into the University curricular. Today, Jim lives in the Westlake Hills west of Austin Texas and spends most of his time in his art studio. He wrote and published The Opaque Decanter, a collection of poems about art, which provided a new view at part of art history.

Turing machine
Alan Mathison Turing
Alan Mathison Turing

Did you know that computing has been used in military espionage and has even influenced the outcome of major wars? Alan Mathison Turing designed the code breaking machine that enabled the deciphering of German communications during WWII. As per the words of Winston Churchill, this would remain the single largest contribution to victory. In addition, he laid the groundwork for visionary fields such as automatic computing engines, artificial intelligence and morphogenesis. Despite his influential work in the field of computing, Turing experienced extreme prejudice during his lifetime regarding his sexual orientation. There is no doubt that computers are ubiquitously part of our lives due to the infusion of Turing’s contributions.

MATLAB graph
Cleve Moler

Cleve Moler improved the quality and accessibility of mathematical software and created a highly respected software system called MATLAB. He was a professor of mathematics and computer science for almost 20 years at the University of Michigan, Stanford University, and the University of New Mexico. In the late 1970’s to early 1980’s he developed several mathematical software packages to support computational science and engineering. These packages eventually formed the basis of MATLAB, a programming environment for algorithm development, data analysis, visualization, and numerical computation. MATLAB can be used to solve technical computing problems faster than with traditional programming languages, such as C, C++, and Fortran. Today, Professor Moler spends his time writing books, articles, and MATLAB programs.

Listen to what Professor Moler has to say about his life’s work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT5umwNSAxE

Liz Gerber - Image credit Lisa Beth Anderson
Liz Gerber
Liz Gerber - Image credit Lisa Beth Anderson

Liz Gerber earned her MS and PhD in Product Design and Management Science and Engineering at Stanford. She specializes in design and human-computer interaction, particularly how social computing supports the innovation process. Her current research investigates crowd-funding as a mechanism for reducing disparities in entrepreneurship.
Gerber's work funded by the US National Science Foundation and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance has appeared in peer-reviewed journals, including Transactions on Computer Human Interactions, Design Studies, and Organization Science.
As an award-winning teacher and researcher, Liz has touched the lives of more than 6,000 students through her teaching at Northwestern's Segal Design Institute and Stanford University's Hasso Plattner's Institute of Design and through her paradigm-shifting creation, Design for America, a national network of students using design to tackle social challenges.

Image credit - Lisa Beth Anderson

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