Faculty Feature: Muhammad Naveed Aman

Muhammad Naveed Aman
Muhammad Naveed Aman

Each week we're featuring a Q&A with a member of our faculty in the School of Computing. Get to know some of our professors! This week we're featuring Assistant Professor Muhammad Naveed Aman.

What are your research areas or areas of specialty/interest?
I am interested in hardware systems security with a focus on the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems, data privacy, trustworthy machine learning, Blockchain, and security in the quantum era. I also work in the area of wireless and mobile networks as a secondary interest.

What courses are you teaching this year?
I am teaching two courses this year:
• CSCE-155N: Computer Science 1 – Engineering and Science focus
• CSCE-463/863: Data and Network Security

How did you first become interested in computing or your specific area of computing?
I remember being an inquisitive boy who liked to experiment with anything he could get his hands on. In the early '90s, I truly became interested in computers when I started to watch the TV series "Knight Rider." The idea that inanimate items like vehicles could have consciousness and hold intelligent conversations captivated me. In fourth grade, I had access to my dad's i486 computer. A classmate of mine gave me a floppy disk that he said included a game, and I was too eager and decided to run the executable without contacting my father first; unfortunately, this led to a virus and the blue screen of death. This incident got me in trouble, but it also piqued my curiosity about computer security. I took it upon myself to educate myself further about computer programming and hardware through reading. The realization that my manner of thinking is akin to computer logic probably proved to be quite useful to me as time went on. In any case, I knew then that I wanted to work in the tech industry. After graduating with a computer system engineering major, I was going to join a team working on data networks in a multinational firm, but I quickly learned that I preferred mentoring others to working alone. So, I went into the field of education as a lecturer, and eventually earned two master's degrees and a doctorate. After that, I took a teaching job in Pakistan, where I was able to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a professor, but where I was unable to fully pursue my research interests. As a result, I moved to Singapore and joined the school of computing at the National University of Singapore and later joined UNL’s School of Computing. Since then, I've thoroughly enjoyed working as a professor and researcher in the field of computing.

What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of computing? What do you enjoy most about those?
Of my hobbies, my favorites are cricket and cooking. South Asians go crazy about cricket, a sport that shares similarities with baseball. In my youth, I spent a lot of time playing and perfecting my fast-bowling skills on the cricket pitch. Even though I'm busy and it's hard to meet other cricket players in Lincoln, I've managed to form a small group of amateurs who share my passion for the sport. In the summer, you may find us at Pioneers Park playing cricket nearly every Sunday afternoon. It combines the benefits of doing some exercise and socializing with others. In addition to playing cricket, one of my favorite hobbies and a great stress reliever is cooking. I enjoy cooking various Pakistani recipes with my favorites being lamb karahi, Pakistani style Philly cheese steak, and of course lamb/chicken barbeque. There's nothing quite like sharing a meal with loved ones.

What is your favorite weekend activity?
I go out for dinner with my family every Friday. Saturday mornings find me socializing with pals, while afternoons find me playing basketball or tennis with the kids. I also enjoy have family movie nights with the kids. The finest thing about Sunday is playing cricket.

Where is your favorite place you've traveled?
The northern mountainous regions of Pakistan are some of my favorite places to visit. The unspoiled, natural beauty is breathtaking, but getting there isn't always easy and often requires long walks. In the U.S., I love going to Hawaii, with some of the best beaches and landscapes in the United States, including tropical rain forests and lava-covered isles. A complete set, if you will.

What is your favorite food?
I really enjoy eating Afghani and Turkish cuisine. Especially the naan, kebobs, and pilaf rice.

What is a fun fact or something other members of the school may not know about you?
In the vibrant mid-80s, a TV series known as MacGyver graced our screens. While most draw inspiration from real-life icons, my career trajectory took an unconventional turn, kindled by the ingenious fictional character from that series. Like MacGyver, I've learned to craft simple solutions for complex research problems, sparking my path to innovation.

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the School of Computing?
My favorite aspect of being a part of the School of Computing is the ever-evolving nature of technology. When moving from Singapore in 2021, I was looking for a place where I can grow and also enjoy the company of nice colleagues. The enthusiastic students and talented colleagues within our school make it a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment. It's a privilege to be part of a community that is driving innovation and shaping the future of computing. Oh, and one more thing: I like how quiet and peaceful Lincoln is, and how friendly the people are here.