Research at Lahore Campus
Big Data Lab Establishment

A Big Data lab has been established in Lahore campus. The use of Big Data is becoming a crucial way for leading companies to outperform their peers. In most industries, established competitors and new entrants alike, leverage data-driven strategies to innovate, compete, and capture value. Big Data will help to create new growth opportunities, and also entirely new categories of companies, such as those that aggregate and analyze industry data.

Students of Dr. Usman Awais and Dr. Zareen Alamgir have successfully setup this lab and cluster. In guidance of Dr. Usman Awais an OpenStack Cloud infrastructure is also established. The deployed OpenStack cloud provides Platform as a Service (PaaS) infrastructure.The PaaS enables the students to analyze many different distributed computing technologies, including Data and Compute Clusters and Grids.The initial set up will be used by master thesis students, and students working on their Final Year Projects (FYP). It will allow the students to have a practical exposure to cloud related technologies. A personalized cloud dashboard can also be made accessible over the internet, in future.

Students can access this Hadoop master cluster from other Labs. Now "Big Data" students can access the Hadoop cluster for their assignments, without going to the Big Data Lab.

Following are the students who made considerable efforts to realize the plan of setting up these labs.

  • Muhammad Naqeeb : L15-5024
  • Amir Shahzad: L15-5025
  • Muhammad Hassan: L14-5017
Centre for Information Visualization and Intelligent Computing (Civic)

Centre for Information Visualization and Intelligent Computing (CIVIC) has been established at the Lahore campus with the aim of conducting research in various areas of Intelligent Computing, Knowledge Engineering, Image Processing and Computer Graphics. Many groups are actively participating in research and development under the umbrella of CIVIC. A brief introduction to these groups and their related research activities is given below:

  • Computer graphics and data visualization:

    The group is exploring various theoretical and practical aspects of geometric modeling approaches to path planning algorithms. In addition to path planning they are also working actively in the area of reverse engineering where it is required to capture 2D objects, outline of planar images, or generation of 3D geometric models of existing objects for which no such models exist.

  • Data mining and data warehousing:

    This research group is exploring state of the art techniques for storing, retrieving and analyzing data for developing business intelligence tools and systems. It is also working in the area of Intelligent Information Retrieval and Text Mining from databases.

  • Human computer interaction:

    The focus of research of this group is in the area of developing and designing intelligent user interfaces according to Cognitive Systems Engineering, Cognitive Psychology and behavioral aspects of different users.

  • Image processing and computer vision:

    This group is actively developing different applications using latest techniques in Image Processing and Machine Vision. Recently, members of this group have gained nationwide recognition by winning various prizes in the software and programming competition at NaSCon.

  • Machine learning:

    The machine learning group is exploring various theoretical techniques in supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms. This research group is working in collaboration with top researchers from the Electrical Engineering Department of University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore.

Projects

Following is a list of the current research projects undertaken by CIVIC:

  • Surveillance Eye: The system provides the user with Automated Intelligent Surveillance in order to monitor malicious activities at entry points in various buildings.
  • Needle 1.0: Construction of a 3D dynamic scene using the least number of cameras possible.
  • The lounge: Creation of an effective and easy graphical interface for new users of the Windows XP operating system.
  • MB 1.02: The system enables content based image and video re-ranking and prioritization capabilities using novel clustering techniques.
  • AELTS: Adaptive English language teaching tool (proposal submitted for funding).
  • Development of intelligent tutoring system using techniques in user and cognitive modeling.
  • Mixture modeling for causal feature selection.
  • Development of novel and improved algorithms for unsupervised clustering.
  • Fair path planning using Pythagorean hodograph quintic spiral functions.
  • Energy efficient motion planning for nonholonomic (car like) mobile robots using cubic spirals.
  • An evolutionary fair path planning for mobile robots with obstacle avoiding.
  • Capturing outlines of planar images.
  • Surface reconstruction with spline functions using evolutionary heuristics.
  • Psyche Mining using automated psyche features extraction from text documents.
  • DSD Studio: Construction of Database Schema Designer Studio using database design theory and methodology.
Multi-Media Lab (MML)

This lab is developing innovate techniques for efficient communication of voice, video and data, especially in the internet connected world. Limited bandwidth of transmission medium (wire-line and wireless) and user’s demand for good quality of service pose interesting challenges for the researchers.

Specific areas of work in Computer Networks include providing QoS in the WLANs for real-time multimedia communication, Statistical modelling of the MAC layer for delay and throughput analysis, cross-layer design for improving performance over wireless networks, and joint source-channel encoding for image and video. In wireless communication, the research focuses on exploiting MIMO technology in order to develop algorithms to achieve higher data rates at low errors. This includes analysing system performance under various channel conditions and designing coding schemes to mitigate the effects of channel impairment.

One of the projects, entitled, “Dynamic Scheduling and Call Admission Control for Quality of Service (QoS) Provision in Real-time Multimedia Application over IEEE 802.11e Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs)” was funded by the PTCL R&D Fund for Thematic Research Grant. The goal of this research was to develop novel scheduling and call admission control (CAC) mechanisms for IEEE 802.11e WLANs. Outcome of this research was development of a novel scheduler, named Proportional Increase and Multiplicative Decrease (PIMD), and a measurement based CAC algorithms. Both algorithms have been published in the proceedings of International refereed conferences. As an extension to this project, modelling and delay analysis of real time multimedia streams (voice and video) over WLAN is being done with an aim to achieve optimal admission control that adapts to dynamic network conditions. Mathematical analysis of PIMD for its suability in various network configurations is being investigated.

In MIMO wireless communication systems, analytical modelling under various fading channels and employing hybrid system (BLAST vs. STBC) are current areas of research. Work is also being done on enhancing combating capabilities of system against variations and inherent interference present in fading. The MIMO systems are being analysed by including pre-coder and multi-user detection. The future direction of the research is towards developing communication and network algorithms for implementation for the upcoming 4G –LTE and mobile wi-max systems.

Centre for Research on Management and Governance (CRMG)

CRMG is established by the FAST School of Management, Lahore Campus (“FSM”) to motivate research on the impact of management and governance philosophies on the art and practice of these disciplines. The centre is jointly run by Dr Hamid Hassan, Dr Zia Khan and Dr Akbar Azam. Dr Hamid Hassan was Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of International Affairs, Aichi University, Nagoya campus, Aichi, Japan working in coordination with Prof. Yasuo Hoshino of Aichi University, on “Role of Leadership in the Organizational Success”.

PhD students enrolled at FSM are conducting research on related themes. Bimonthly seminars facilitate sharing of ideas and updates. The findings from the theoretical and empirical research conducted at CRMG are expected to provide guidelines to deal with the governance issues of public and private sector organizations and help eliminate the redundant activities that cause wastage of resources at micro and macro level in the firm and the economy. Some of the recent results of research endeavors at CRMG are as following.

  • Hussain, M and Hassan, H (2015). Military Leadership and implications of business leaders in the light of alternative theories. Pakistan journal of Science, Vol. 67 No. 1
  • Idrees, F. ,Hassan, H. and Ghauri, T. K. (2015). "Study on Brand Relevance: Cross Category and Cross Gender Comparison, the Case of Pakistan." International Journal of Economics and Empirical Research. 3 (5), 211-223.
  • Hassan, H. Asad, S. and Hoshino, Y (2015). "Sketching the leadership-personality link by using representative leadership styles and big five personality dimensions." Annual Tokyo Business Research Conference, held at Shinjuku Washington Hotel, Tokyo, Japan. (November 9-10, 2015)
  • Hassan, H., Omar, F. and Hoshino, Y (2015). "Relationship between negative perceptions of organizational politics, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and creative propensity in employees." The 18th Annual Meeting of Japanese Association of Administrative Science, held at the Nagoya Campus of Aichi University, Nagoya Shi, Japan. (November 14-15, 2015)
  • Hassan, H. Asad, S. and Hoshino, Y (2015). "Gauging the effect of elements of training and trainees’ characteristics on task and contextual performance." The 18th Annual Meeting of Japanese Association of Administrative Science, held at the Nagoya Campus of Aichi University, Nagoya Shi, Japan. (November 14-15, 2015)
  • Hassan, H (2015). Seminar on "Trust and Economic Performance; Evidence from Cross Country Panel Data Analysis" at Institute of International Affairs, Aichi University Nagoya Campus, Nagoya Shi, Japan (November, 11 2015)
  • Khan, Z. and Ferguson, D. (2015). Understanding the complexity of customer advocacy intentions resulting from continuance commitment and its antecedents. 20th Corporate Marketing Communications Conference, Izmir, Turkey, 2015. (associated with Journal of Marketing Communications) Published in its proceedings available at iletisim.ieu.edu.tr/wp-content/uploads/CMC2015_Proceedings_Book.pdf
Software Engineering Research Centre (SERC)

Visit: www.serc.org.pk

Software Research Engineering Centre is dedicated to conducting research and development in various facets of software engineering. The centre has been established to promote theoretical research in the software engineering area, resolve problems faced by the software industry, and help establish software engineering practices in the industry. Through the establishment of the SERC, the University seeks to help and support the local software industry in establishing and improving their processes and practices through continuous feedback and training. SERC aims to achieve these objectives by collecting the industry data to understand productivity, cost, and quality parameters. This will hopefully also help in developing more suitable process and lifecycle models for different types of projects being undertaken by our local industry in the offshore and distributed environment. During the last few years, this Centre has arranged many seminars and workshops in the software engineering domain.

Sample Past Projects

  • DISC – Design using integrated software chips.
  • Development and analysis of a new Object to Relational Mapping technique.
  • Mining code repositories for automatic detection of bad smells in the code.
  • An Empirical Study to Analyze the Impact of Testing and Code Inspections on Overall Productivity.
  • Small - Separated Modelling and Language for meta-modelling

Recent Publications

  • Sadia Khalid and Ali Malik, “Impact of Team Structure on Software Development Productivity and Quality in Pakistani Software Houses”, FAST-NU Research Journal, Volume 1, Issue 1, January 2015
  • Raza Rasool and Ali Malik, “Effort Estimation of ETL Projects Using Forward Stepwise Regression”, International Conference on Emerging Technologies (ICET 2015), December 2015, Peshawar – Pakistan
  • Nosheen Sabahat and Ali Malik, “Size Estimation of Open Source Board-Based Software Games”, International Conference on Open Source Systems and Technologies (ICOSST 2015), December 2015, Lahore – Pakistan

E-Learning Project

Tool for Improvement of Cohesiveness in Emotive Writing, funded by ICT R &D.

Liberty Lab for Robotics

Liberty Lab is established to engineer multi-disciplinary solutions for socially grounded problems and to achieve advancement in Robotics. Research is done to make robots that can achieve autonomous behavior. Problems of localization, mapping, navigation and image processing in robots are explored. Control algorithms on ground and air robots are developed to improve the navigation capabilities of such robots. The goal is to make autonomous mobile and industrial robots, and induce learning and long-term autonomy in them. Using the output of this research, solutions to industrial and societal problems using robotics and embedded systems technology are devised. The lab aims to construct low cost robots that are intelligent enough to work around in industry, farms and houses. A lot of algorithms have been devised in literature with promising results, but still we don’t see these algorithms deployed on robots around us. The research group thus wants to make robots for very simple tasks which can be performed by robots.

Similarly, there are scenarios that only require an embedded solution, as opposed to standard articulated robot. The research group aims to devise such embedded systems. The lab has expanded its operation in three broad thematic areas namely, systems, humans and crops. The lab aims to put together and apply the knowledge gained from diverse areas of expertise including robotics, embedded systems and artificial intelligence, to engineer out-of-the-box solutions that practically solve the problems faced by the local society. The lab achieves its aims via workshops, talks and projects at both graduate and undergraduate levels.

Collaborators and Research Partners

The lab initiated multiple projects in collaboration with leading medical institutes of the country, including, King Edward Medical University and Services Institute of Medical Sciences (Services Hospital). These projects include an EMG controlled prosthetic arm, retinopathy classification for diabetics, bio-thesiometer for neuropathy, contact-less waist measurement for patients and bone recovery analyzer.

The research group has acquired a grant from the German government in collaboration with University of Kaiserslautern, for a medium term project to start automation of agriculture in Pakistan using robots. Students and faculty members from both participating universities will visit and work with their partner university for a couple of months each year. The grant will be utilized for R&D in automatic detection of weed in wheat crops using flying robots.

The research group organized the 7th International Workshop on Field and Assistive Robots (WFAR-7) on 17-18 Oct 2014, which showcased talks from researchers, robot demos and poster session with robotics students. It brought together the robotics community in Pakistan and Europe. This year, the group plans to organize the 9th International event on Field and Assistive Robots in October 2015.

Current Projects

The lab currently consists of three faculty members, five research assistants, nine graduate students and about 50 undergrad students. Projects currently underway are disaster management using robotics, collaborative tasks using teams of robots, aid of shoppers, etc. The lab is also running multiple projects on traffic congestion detection and control using different sensing mechanisms including mobile phone accelerometers, cameras, flying robots and crowd sourcing. In the field of agriculture, the lab runs projects to monitor weed, pests and irrigation of crops.

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