Publication and Additional information

SysNet Lab

Syed, Affan Ahmed

Associate Professor, FAST-NU, Islamabad.

Curriculum Vitae [academic] [industry]
Affan Ahmed


"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not?" - George Bernard Shaw

I have, as of May 2015, joined PLUMgrid as Director Engineering at their Islamabad office. This site will no longer be regularly updated.


I am an Associate Professor at FAST National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences (NUCES) - Islamabad Campus. I completed my PhD in Computer Science from University Of Southern California (USC) in 2009 under the supervision of John Heidemann.

My research interests span a wide spectrum; from exploring the deep linkages between sensing and energy in cyber-physical systems to distributed systems, embedded systems, and computer security. I have done research in underwater sensor networks, network time-synchronization, high-latency medium access control design, and industrial wireless-mesh networking. My current interest are in the areas of SmartHomes and SmartGrid technologies (with focus on energy issues of Pakistan), Software Defined Network (SDN), and distributed systems design and implementation.

Please visit my lab*, SysNet, for recent and detailed information about my current research activities.

*Watch this video about Life at SysNet, shot and edited by a founding member of our lab (Naveed Anwar Bhatti, March 2014) to get an idea of our lab environment.

Recent Updates (infrequently updated):

  1. Started collaboration with Jessica Huber and Jeffrey Haddad of Purdue University on their SEIF-awarded project.
  2. Invited to be on the TPC for IPSN 2015 and PAM 2015.
  3. Talk given to the DETER team at Information Sciences Institute (USC/ISI), titled "How to observe your bot", July 10, 2014.
  4. Talk given at the MSR faculty summit 2014 and the Lab-of-Things Workshop, July 14 and 16, 2014 at the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center, Redmond.
  5. A paper on a novel ISP framework for service delivery has been accepted at SIGCOMM CCR. Congrats to Kamran, Zaafar, and Shabbir.
  6. We have our second A+ (after IPSN) conference acceptance at DSN 2014 for paper titled "Titan: Enabling Low Overhead and Multi-faceted Network Fingerprinting of a Bot" . Congratulations to Osama and Waqar. This is also a completely indigenous paper with all authors from SysNet, another first such acceptance (from Pakistan) at DSN.
  7. Our paper titled "Sensors with Lasers: Building a WSN Power Grid", has been accepted at IPSN 2014. Congratulations to Naveed, this is big news as we are the first completely indigenous publication from Pakistan accepted at IPSN.

    Appointments Scheduling:

    For scheduling appointments, please email me an appointment request at least 3 days ahead of time. Please use my calendar link to obtain a free slot and request a meeting therein.

    Advice for Prospective Students:

    For any consultative process, I advise first sending an email, and then using my calendar above to schedule a meeting. Do know that I get nearly a hundred emails every day, and I while I try my best to respond to everyone of them, some times (depending on current deadlines) my response can be delayed by a few weeks.

    Graduate Students

    I have a strict policy of taking only those students under my advisement who have taken a coursewith me or have done research with me, and show potential for research and hardwork. I will not waive this requirement except under one exception: a recommendation by another active researcher in Pakistan or possessing great academic and research credentials.

    Undergraduate Students

    I encourage undergraduate students interested in exploring research opportunities in the areas embedded and cyberphysical systems, botnet research, distributed systems and networks as well as cloud and mobile computing, to approach me with some credentials showing either great academic potential or some distinguishing project. Another option is to enroll in one of my undergraduate course and demostrate your capabilities. However, due to limited slots for advising FYP students, I will remain quite restricted in my choice of students to advise.

    Funded Projects:

    1. PI for "Design and prototyping of Software-defined network architecture to detect and prevent real-time botnet attacks", a PKR 13.3 million project funded by Pakistan National ICT R&D Fund (Feb 2012-Feb 2014).
    2. PI for "SoftUPS: Virtualizing the home UPS solution to enable efficient peak load sharing in developing world", an industrial grant from Microsoft Research (Redmond) from their HomeOS/Lab-of-things initiative (July 2013-Dec 2014).
    3. PI for "Extending the Cyberphyscial systems R&D Paradigm using Energy-Transference", a PKR 5.5 million project for 21 months funded by Pakistan Higher Education Commission (HEC), starting September 2014.

    Contact Information:

    FAST University
    Islambad Campus,
    AK Barohi Road
    H-11/4, Islamabad 440000
    [Google Maps]
    Tel: +92 51 111-128-128 ext 340
    Email (with recaptcha) - Please email me if you find any inactive links.
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