Dr. Fahim Rahman is a homegrown FICS Research professor, from a FICS Research PhD student to now a FICS Research faculty. Here are a few questions that we asked him:
Tell me a little about yourself
I am from Bangladesh. I was raised in one of the most beautiful college towns in the country 20miles west from the capital, Dhaka. Being a part of a large but friendly and diverse neighborhood gave me a lot of exposure to different culture and food. No wonder I am a big fan of South-Asian cuisine.
I received my bachelors from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, MS from the University of Connecticut, and PhD from the University of Florida, all in electrical and computer engineering.
Please list your research interests
The primary motivation behind my research is to establish assurance and security in electronic devices and systems from design to resign. This opens up a diverse set of research directions because there is no one silver bullet to address all the threats and vulnerabilities. Currently, I am looking into blockchain-enabled schemes for establishing trusted electronics supply chain allowing in-field deployment, computer-aided design methods for anti-piracy solutions targeting critical electronic IPs, and development of secure firmware for resource-constrained/IoT devices. I am also excited to pursue some emerging topics, especially digital twin and post-quantum cryptography, in collaboration with other FICS faculty.
What current projects are you most excited about?
This is really difficult to say – there are so many projects very much near and dear to me, all with really promising outcome. If I want to pick one, I will mention the DARPA-funded project AISS: Automatic Implementation of Secure Silicon. UF FICS is a big part of this 4-year multi-million-dollar project that includes Synopsys, ARM, and many other semiconductor giants. I aim to provide security solutions, modeling techniques, and automated design methods with chip economics vs security trade-off in mind. I am really excited to be a part of this team and looking forward to making impactful research.
What was your purpose behind choosing a career in Electrical and Computer Engineering?
My parents both being faculty members, I grew up in an education-friendly environment. However, engineering was not their field of expertise. So, I guess it’s all determination and hard-work with a pinch of fate! Among all other engineering subjects, topics in the domain of electrical and computer engineering were something I could relate to closely; and I become fascinated with microelectronic design and VLSI in my undergrad senior year. During my MS and PhD, I realized that security and trust in computer engineering domain was something I would pursue for; not only for all the challenging problems that needed solutions, but also for the opportunities that one could get to do impactful research and provide cool solutions for the community. Today, you cannot think of a day where you are not relying on an electronic device. So anything we, as engineers and researchers, do directly benefits people and makes life easier and secure.
What lasting impact would you like your research to have in this world?
I want to think myself not only a researcher but also a mentor. While I thrive for creating innovative solutions so that electronic devices and systems, whether used for daily life or national and security -critical systems, I also try my best to motivate young talents, nourish their skills, and train them to build a strong workforce. I believe both are equally important for the greater good!