Fatima Anwar Appointed Assistant Professor at UMass Amherst

Fatima Anwar will be joining the University of Massachusetts Amherst as an Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in the Fall of 2019. She is a graduating Ph.D. student in the UCLA ECE Department. Fatima received her Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from the University of Engineering and Technology Lahore in Pakistan and her Master’s in Computer Engineering from Ajou University in South Korea.

Fatima’s dissertation is titled “Quality of Time: A New Perspective in Designing Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS).” Her research, conducted at the Networked and Embedded Systems Lab (NESL) under Professor Mani Srivastava, focuses on designing systems that improve the performance and security of CPS and the Internet of Things (IoT) applications. This includes investigating temporal use cases and then providing conceptualizations and solutions to commodity platforms and operating systems that make use of them. She also examines and resolves uncertainties that come with hardware and network variations, encompassing security, and robustness.

A challenge facing this research is providing these temporal use cases to applications on commodity platforms. This is because commodity platforms undergo many timing variations stemming from information from the network, hardware, and software, which makes it challenging to provide a secure shared notion of time.

Fatima’s research has several applications in the consumer world, relating to time awareness for CPS and IoT platforms and operating systems. For example, autonomous driving and traffic routing are both time-critical cases that require an infrastructure with a shared sense of time. This means that everything from car sensors and actuators (e.g., a braking system) to traffic lights would rely on timely reactions.

In the future, Fatima hopes to establish a research group with a significant focus on designing smart spaces using mixed reality systems and intelligent interactions while preserving security and privacy. She is also interested in addressing the fair use of commercial technology by proper regulation.

Fatima has a lasting commitment towards increasing participation of diverse groups in STEM – women in particular. Though academic institutions and industries promote inclusion; Fatima being a mother herself believes that there is still work to be done. Going forward, she plans to create a positive environment and highlight the value of embracing diversity from a practical perspective.