Pro Rector Academic, GIKI – Prof Dr Syed Muhammad Hassan Zaidi, is the chief academic officer overseeing academic and research pursuits of the University, ensuring the growth and prosperity of its students, faculty and allied academic staff. Dr Zaidi is an illustrious researcher and practitioner in IT education, with credentials as a scholar of remarkable vision and commitment. He acquired his MS and PhD from the University of South Florida, USA (1988-1993).
Prior to joining GIKI, he spent three decades at Pakistan’s leading university, NUST, wherein he has the distinction of being the founding head of the NUST IT wing NIIT, which subsequently transformed to NUST School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (NUST-SEECS). He served in various academic leadership positions as Principal, Dean, and Head of Academics for 21 years and transformed it into the premier institution of NUST.
Dr Zaidi essentially took things from the ground-up as part of the core team and hand carried it to the peak, encompassing: grooming of faculty, students, staff; nurturing a vibrant research culture and critical thinking rather than rote learning; always staying ahead of the curve, introducing new subjects, technologies etc. His key academic initiatives include the establishment of the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) system for effective implementation of the Outcome-Based Education (OBE) paradigm in Electrical Engineering and Software Engineering Programs. His key research initiatives include the establishment of NUST-SEECS’ Signature Research Clusters with active global partnerships. These include: (a) AI & Machine Learning, (b) Wireless & Photonics Networks, (c) Smart Grids, (d) Internet of Things (IoT), (e) Cyber Security, (f) Cloud Computing, and (g) Big Data Analytics. Among his recent noteworthy contributions in this context are the launch of the MS in AI and Data Science PG programs, and the establishment of new labs for IoT and Blockchain pertaining to the respective signature research clusters.
He has played a pivotal role in building collaborations with various international institutions from academia and industry. Some of the prominent ones include UNC Charlotte, USA, Georgia Tech, USA, University of South Florida, USA, University of California at Davis, USA, Concordia University, Canada, Rhein-Main University of Applied Sciences (HSRM), Wiesbaden, Germany, Oxford University, UK, King Saud bin Abdul Aziz University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, The University of Western Australia, Australia, University of Surrey, UK, Leeds University, UK, Beihang University, China, Neuro Psychology Lab, Germany, Microsoft, CISCO, Teradata, IBM, and Huawei.
During his distinguished academic research career spanning over three decades, he has published over 100 research papers in prestigious international journals/conferences. He is the recipient of several coveted honours and awards, which notably include: NCR National IT Excellence Award for Research and Development and Gold Medal for the year 2000 – 2001; NCR National Excellence Award for IT Education in the year 2003; HEC Best Teacher Award in the year 2004. In September 2006, Charlotte Research Institute (CRI), USA conferred on him the status of “Duke Energy Distinguished Research Visiting Scholar. Dr Zaidi has the distinction of pioneering and co-chairing the US-Pakistan International Symposium on High-Capacity Optical Networks and Enabling Technologies (HONET), a regular annual event since Dec 2004. He has also won two President Gold medals for being proclaimed the BEST Researcher of the Year and the Best Teacher in Information Technology. On 14th August 2008, he won the President’s Pride of Performance Award for his meritorious services in the field of Information Technology at the National/International Level.
His current research interests include: High speed networks including Photonics and 6G, IoT using Machine/Deep Learning, Cyber security, Quantum Internet and Quantum Machine Learning.