"My dream has always been, not only to contribute to Science but to the whole of humanity." says Dr. Bashir
Ali M Bukar
Today, we are excited to present Dr. Bashir, a post-doctoral research fellow at the prestigious Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, USA. His research works to find a solution to network traffic congestion on Energy Science Network(EsNet).
Research interest or field:
My research is focused on enabling the design of intelligent networks that allows improved reliability for exascale scientific workflows. I am working on building robust networks through the use of Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning based approaches, cloud computing, and software‐defined networks (SDN). This couples deep learning methods with SDN for predicting real‐time network behaviour, avoiding data traffic congestion and degraded network performance. My research interest lies at the intersection between Network systems, Control systems, and Machine Learning.
Tell us about your research in layman's language
I am currently working on developing AI and Machine Learning algorithms to control high-speed networks such as to avoid data traffic congestion, degraded network performance and network downtime for important Science Bigfile Transfers and experiments. My method will lead to minimizing network downtime, save US department of Energy (DOE) millions of dollars on equipment cost, and free engineers to work on science experiments. My research contributed to the core network research and operations with my strong background in High Performance Computing and cloud where I developed and built these infrastructures during my PhD.
What do you enjoy about your research and what is it about the field that excites you?
One thing I enjoy about my research is that, it allows me to discover some of the latest state of the art cutting edge solutions for one of the greatest challenging open research problems in Network engineering research, which is the Internet Network traffic congestion problem. This excites me a lot because every day I learn something new and interesting.
Did you always want to be a scientist? Tell us about your first exposure to science and whether it was why you developed an interest in It?
I have always been interested in Science since when I was young. I used to enjoy taking things apart to see how they work. Building my first computer was an experience which remains fresh 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.
Is there a Nigerian or African scientist working today who you admire, and why?
Professor Kunle Olukotun, who is a Cadence Design Systems Professor in the School of Engineering and a Professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Stanford University. I admire him because of his strong passion for computer science and how he was able to carve a niche for himself in one of the best Universities in the world. He is an inspiration and a role model to a lot of young African upcoming scientist.
What do you think are the biggest challenges currently facing scientists and their work in Nigeria?
I must say this: Nigerian is the most educated black nation in the world, We have a lot of talented Nigerian scientist all over the world doing amazing and cutting edge scientific research but the environment is not conducive, supportive and encouraging, and above-all, lack of equipment is a key bottleneck to conducting quality scientific research.
What are the challenges and sacrifice you have had to give for science or while doing science?
Science has been a big part of my life. For my first degree, I went to the University of Technology Minna, where things were very challenging. You had to have thick skin, with a high level of ambition to be a successful student. One thing that kept me going is the idea that I would invent something that would positively impact humanity. This passion propelled me to chasing a masters and then a PhD research degree.
If you weren’t a scientist, what do you think you’d be doing?
I will be an actor performing in a play on stage in a theatre.
What do you think is the most significant scientific discovery of all time?
In my opinion I think it is Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Intelligence. It is amazing to see how AI techniques have become an essential part of the tech industry, helping to solve many challenging problems in computer science, software engineering and operations research.
Aspiration – What do you aspire to do next, could be research, grant, collaboration etc
My dream has always been, not only to contribute to science but to humanity. Being part of the Berkley Lab research Team gave me the platform to innovate and to work with some of the world’s smartest scientist and researchers. Currently Berkeley Lab has 13 Nobel prize winners. I aspire to be part of the Team that will win the 14th Nobel prize for the Lab. Hopefully my contributions will inspire young Africans to also push ahead and chase their dreams. I also aspire to mentor young students having the passion for science towards discovering their potentials.
A few words of advice for aspiring scientists
My advice for aspiring scientist is to be persistent, focus and develop their novel ideas, thereby helping to carve a niche for themselves in their chosen research field. I will advise them to always think of the overall impact of their research not just to Nigeria alone but to Africa and the world at large.
What you wish to tell the public about your research or field.
Can you imagine one single day without an Internet Connection? As at 2018 over 60% of the world population were already connected online, which means internet network traffic will continue to grow exponentially day by day. My research is using Artificial intelligence to bring a lasting solution to this world challenging research problem.