Welcome to another edition of “In the Spotlight,” an interview series where we chat with highly accomplished researchers about their careers, their research, and the future of their field.
For this week’s edition, we’re excited to be talking to Prof. Abu Kaisar Mohammad Masum of Daffodil International University. He has been managing the NLP and ML research lab at the institute, and his research focuses on natural language processing and machine learning. His work has been featured at numerous international conferences.
In this interview, he shares his insights into the AI field, who will benefit the most from its advancements, and his predictions for the future of AI.
Q: Could you tell our readers what sparked your interest in getting into academics?
I had some amazing professors at my undergraduate university who inspired me the most to get into this field. The bond between teachers and students is an incredible one, as it positively influenced me and grew my passion for teaching.
Some of my teachers are like family to me. And I try to do the same with my students. It fosters an environment conducive to learning. I love to teach them new things, and sometimes they also amaze me with their expertise.
Moreover, I've always wanted to be a researcher, so engaging myself in a learning environment is advantageous to me.
Q: What research topics are you currently working on?
Well, currently, I’m working on projects in areas like Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Computer vision, and Data Mining.
Q: What keeps you motivated during your everyday work?
As an academic researcher, I am motivated by the opportunity to make an impact in my field and in the lives of my students. The idea that I'm contributing to their development definitely keeps me going every day.
I love being part of something greater than myself. I'm always on the lookout for opportunities to contribute to meaningful projects and take ownership of not only my work but also the environment that I'm in.
Also, having a supportive family and an amazing working environment with awesome colleagues definitely generates a positive atmosphere that inspires me to do something good, which in turn boosts my morale every day.
Acknowledgment is a great source of motivation too! Getting recognized for your work and seeing the positive impact you are making definitely provides a huge boost and encourages me to push myself to achieve more.
Q: What depicts you as a researcher?
As a researcher, I'm driven by a desire to find answers. I'm always asking myself questions and using my analytical mind, intelligence, curiosity, commitment, and determination to find the answers. This allows me to delve deeper into a topic.
As a researcher, I'm always driven by my eagerness to learn. When I'm able to uncover the answers to the questions I've been pondering for days, weeks, or months, it brings me immense joy and satisfaction. Many times I push myself to get the job done in the lab, and despite the exhaustion, it's always a source of pride for me and keeps me motivated for more.
My strong interpersonal skills also help me work effectively with my colleagues and team, no matter the situation.
Q: What changes do you hope to see in the research arena?
I hope that in the research ecosystem, the emphasis is more on the quality of projects over quantity. Recently, I've noticed a rise in the number of projects taken on without much consideration for their long-term impact.
Additionally, I'm concerned by the proliferation of predatory journals, which enable people to publish low-quality work in exchange for payment. I would like to see these unethical practices eradicated and for all researchers to learn and follow ethical principles when it comes to conducting and publishing research.
Q: What’s the most satisfying moment you’ve experienced as a researcher? And what were you most worried about when you first started?
Thanks for that question, which brings back some fond memories. The most satisfying moment I experienced as a researcher was when I published my first research paper while I was an undergraduate student. Seeing the fruits of my labor in the form of a published work was a moment of immense pride and relief.
That feeling only amplified with every subsequent paper I published, and I quickly grew to enjoy the craftsmanship of research.
The biggest worry I had when I first started was how long it would take to publish my first paper. The journey was tough, and I had to persevere, but ultimately, my hard work and dedication paid off.
Ultimately, the challenges I faced along the way only made me stronger and more determined to succeed. I feel even more passionate and committed to my team, my students, and my research now.
Q: What steps can one take to stay up to date with the latest developments in AI?
Compile a list of people and organizations who regularly post about AI developments on social media. Then, follow Google AI, Microsoft AI Research, OpenAI, and other AI-focused organizations’ blogs regularly.
Keeping an eye on scholarly publications, attending online conferences, and following relevant websites like AI Valley and Deep Learning Weekly are all great ways to stay informed.
That wraps up this edition of '’In the Spotlight.' Feel free to check out Professor Abu's published papers to learn more about his work. You can find his LinkedIn profile at the link below: https://bd.linkedin.com/in/abukaisar24
We're very grateful to Professor Abu for joining us today, as we gained invaluable insights into his passion for teaching and research and his view on the ever-changing landscape of AI and machine learning. We hope this interview has been a great source of information and inspiration for anyone looking to explore this field further.