Cheriton School of Computer Science PhD graduate Nashid Shahriar awarded 2021 Mathematics Doctoral Prize

Monday, May 10, 2021

Dr. Nashid Shahriar has won the 2021 Mathematics Doctoral Prize. Now in its third year, these prestigious awards are conferred annually to recognize the achievements of top graduating and graduated doctoral students in the Faculty of Mathematics. As a first-place recipient, he will receive $1,500 and is nominated for the Governor General’s Gold Medal. Recipients of the Mathematics Doctoral Prize are selected by a committee within the Faculty of Mathematics.

“Congratulations to Nashid on his receiving the 2021 Mathematics Doctoral Prize,” said Mark Giesbrecht, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics. “His PhD thesis made significant advancements in network virtualization, an enabling technology that will allow the Internet and 5G mobile networks to deliver on promised connectivity and bandwidth guarantees.”

Dr. Shahriar was a PhD student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science’s Systems and Networking group from May 2014 to July 2020. He worked under the supervision of Professor Raouf Boutaba, who is also the Director of the Cheriton School of Computer Science.

photo of Nashid Shahriar and Raouf Boutaba
L to R: Nashid Shahriar, now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Regina, and his PhD supervisor, Raouf Boutaba, Professor and Director of the Cheriton School of Computer Science

“Nashid is no stranger to prestigious academic awards,” said Professor Boutaba. “Last fall, he also received the 2020 Alumni Gold Medal for his outstanding academic performance in a doctoral program, and while he was a PhD student he received three best paper awards.”

Dr. Shahriar’s doctoral research has advanced the state-of-the-art in network virtualization, a step necessary to realize the next-generation of communication networks. His dissertation focused on survivable virtual network provisioning. Virtual networks are comprised of virtual nodes and virtual links that are hosted, respectively, on physical nodes and physical paths in a shared network infrastructure. Survivable virtual networks can survive failures in the underlying physical infrastructure. In this context, Dr. Shahriar addressed intellectually challenging and practically important research problems by devising novel survivability models for virtual networks that provide network operators more flexibility in handling failures while minimizing costs. His research considered a variety of failure scenarios, formulating reliable network virtualization problems mathematically and solving them optimally, as well as devising fast algorithms that scale to large problem instances.

Dr. Shahriar’s doctoral research demonstrated that differing quality of service guarantees can be efficiently achieved in the same virtualized network infrastructure. For instance, to minimize costs, a virtual network carrying best-effort traffic can be provisioned in such a way that only network connectivity is ensured in the event of failures, whereas a virtual network provisioned for real-time applications will have the needed bandwidth guaranteed even if failures occur. Dr. Shahriar’s research has set the stage to realize the long-term vision of automated failure management, which is crucial in future highly virtualized networking environments.

In July 2020, Dr. Shahriar accepted a tenure-track faculty position as an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Regina. His research interest broadly lies in the areas of computer and communication networks. Specifically, his research program addresses resource allocation challenges in emerging networks, including 5G mobile networks, elastic optical networks, cloud infrastructures, data centres, software-defined networks, and the Internet-of-Things. His work aims to leverage optimization techniques, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to solve networking problems.

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