Vice Chancellor

VC Office, ITU,
6th Floor, Afra Software Technology Park, Lahore,


  • We built an early warning system for epidemics using Internet surveillance data, called FluBreaks . It uses the Google Flu Trends data to detect epidemics early using a bunch of statistical processing techniques. Very useful for countries like Pakistan that do not have a real-time disease surveillance system. Read our paper in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), the top journal in Medical Informatics: FluBreaks: Early Epidemic Detection from Google Flu Trends

  • My article in Express Tribune on how we revamped the Intermediate and Matric exam system in Punjab: Results that matter!

  • My article in the Washington Post on startups and innovation in the developing world: A tale of two tech startup cities
  • I am currently on sabbatical, working as Chairman of the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) in the Government of Punjab. In this role, I head all public-sector IT initiatives in the government of Punjab, Pakistan, with an annual budget of close to $20 Million.
  • Our joint work with UC Berkeley on rural telephony systems has received a Google Faculty Research Award , in collaboration with Tapan Parikh and Eric Brewer. This is the first time someone in Pakistan has received a Faculty Research Award from Google.

  • Two papers from our research group accepted: BitMate paper (BitTorrent for the developing world) accepted at ACM HotNets'11 and Polly paper (Speech-based viral services in the developing-world) accepted at IEEE/ACM ICTD'12.

  • All the work by teams at Dritte and SCI is paying off: I was named one of the top 35 young innovators in the world by MIT Technology Review (TR35). This is the first time a Pakistani has received the TR35 award! Lots of international and local press, and TV interviews: Geo TV -- Kamran Khan Show, Express TV

  • Some good press for two startups at SCI. PBS ran a story on See`n`report's impact on enabling citizen journalism in Pakistan and its use during the recent floods in Pakistan. The article on SMSall (formerly ChOpaal) tells the story of how it grew from a small university project to the largest SMS Social Network in Pakistan. SMSall has sent over 3 Billion SMS for hundreds of thousands of people in Pakistan (and recently in other countries).

  • After two years of hard work, we've released our BitTorrent client for the developing-world, called BitMate, with great reviews by CNN, New York Times, GigaOm and many others. Within three days of releasing the BitMate client, we already have thousands of downloads. BitMate improves the performance of low-bandwidth BitTorrent clients by more than 70%, without cheating or adversely effecting the performance of higher bandwidth peers. Read the story on New York Times . Update: BitMate has close to 30,000 users from 173 countries.

  • Along with a group of other World Economic Forum's Global Leaders (YGL), we have launched a new YGL Task Force on using ICT for Development (ICTD). We ran a small pilot project on using SMS for Education. Planning to start a larger project on building a disease outbreak detection system.

  • All the good work by teams at SCI and Dritte is paying off. I was named a Young Global Leader (YGL) by the World Economic Forum in 2010.

  • Video of my two-part interview for CIO on entrepreneurship in Pakistan: Part I Part II

  • Pakistan's largest English newspaper Dawn has published an article on our incubator -- Saif Center of Innovation (SCI) -- and our citizen journalism startup See`n`Report .

  • Our work on Grassroots technologies received the MIT Global Indus Technovator Award!

  • Prof. Richard Anderson and his team has made a video of the collaborative course between UW (Seattle), Microsoft Research (Redmond) and LUMS, Pakistan. 

  • Two of my startups -- ChOpaal.pk and SeeNreport.com -- won the Annual ICT PASHA (Pakistan Software Houses Association) Awards, 2008 and were shortlisted to represent Pakistan in the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA'08) in Jakarta.

  • I was awarded the CIO IDG Technology Pioneer Award . The inaugural CIO awards were given to those who helped shape the Pakistan software industry in the last 10 years. Given that I was still an undergrad 10 years ago, I am humbled by the recognition of our recent entrepreneurial activities (BumpIn.com, ChOpaal.pk and SeeNreport.com )

  • My dream startup incubator is finally online in Lahore! My three startups -- BumpIn.com, ChOpaal.pk and SeeNreport.com -- become the first citizens of  S.C.I.   

  • Our  research on Goal-oriented adaptive systems received the Mark Weiser Award at IEEE Percom'08. Watch videos of our two goal-oriented systems: Goal-oriented Sockets [Follow-Me-Video] and Goal-oriented Programming System [Adaptive Teleconference]. 

  • Our Poor Man's broadband system for the developing-world was featured in the New Scientist and the MIT Technology Review. Our paper was selected to appear in a compendium of best papers from ICTD'07 in a special issue of the ITID Journal. 

  • Our collaboration with UC Berkeley's TIER group received funding from NAS/US State Department and HEC. We will be working on Rural WiFi and inverse-multiplexed GPRS Networks, Developing-world "Teleputer" and Poor Man's Akamai with Eric Brewer's group. Check out the Dritte pages for updates.

  • Our three-way course on "Computing for the Developing-world" with University of Washington and Microsoft Research was broadcast live between three sites. 20 odd students attend the course from LUMS (at 6AM Pakistan time). We learned many interesting lessons in using technology for International Distance Education (published in 13th CSCWD conference).

  • Our collaborative project with MIT on Disease Epidemiology in Pakistan received funding from PITB. We will be focusing on TB and Malaria in Punjab. 

  • Poor Man's Broadband received funding from the Microsoft Research (MSR) Digital Inclusion Program. This is the first time MSR has funded a research project in Pakistan.

About Me

At MIT, I am part of the O2S group at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Previously, I spent almost four years as part of the Oxygen core team and used to manage the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) collaboration on Pervasive Computing.
I am currently an Associate Professor in the Computer Science department at LUMS where I lead the Dritte initiative. 

In the last few years, I helped found a number of startups: