Posted on 3 November 2015
A graduate from the University of York’s Computer Science Department has been highly commended in a national PhD thesis competition.
Furqan Aziz is one of two highly commended runners up in the national competition run by the BCS, the Chartered Institute for Information Technology.
He is the third PhD student from York to be commended in the competition, which has been running since 1990.
During his PhD, Furqan conducted research in the area of spectral graph theory and its applications to computer vision and pattern recognition.
His thesis tackles an important topic in computer vision and pattern recognition from the perspective of graph matching.
Although the thesis concentrates on three-dimensional shapes in computer vision, Furqan’s new theory has the potential to be used to study the flow of information across networks, including finance and medicine.
The Council of Professors and Heads of Computing (CPHC), in conjunction with BCS and the BCS Academy of Computing, annually selects the best British PhD/DPhil dissertations in computer science and publishes the winning dissertation and runner up submission online.
The prize winners received their awards at the prestigious BCS Roger Needham Lecture which took place at the Royal Society in London on 2 November.
Furqan, who was unable to attend the ceremony as he now works at the Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar, Pakistan, said: “I remember my first meeting with my supervisors Edwin Hancock and Richard Wilson. Edwin showed me one of his previous PhD student’s thesis and said ‘this thesis has won a BCS distinguished thesis award’.
“ I never thought at that time that my thesis would also get one of the distinguished dissertation awards. Thanks to BCS for the recognition. Thanks to my supervisors for the support and motivation that made it possible.”
Simon Dobson, Chair of the Distinguished Dissertation Award panel, praised his entry.
He said: "Graph matching is vitally important for computer vision applications, but it also has huge potential impact in any domain that uses graph data structures.
“The review panel found that Furqan's thesis stood out from what was a very strong field of submissions, and richly deserved its 'highly commended' award."
Furqan Aziz has also received the Best Thesis Award 2014 in the Department of Computer Science, for his work - Edge-Based Operators for Graph Characterisation.
Furqan's PhD was funded by the Government of Pakistan.
Furqan came to York in November 2010. He described the weather conditions as extremely cold, and everything was whitewashed with snow. Furqan originates from Peshawar in Pakistan, which is the largeset city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Temperatures in Peshawar in the summer average 45oC so it took Furqan a while to adjust. He has said that he enjoyed every bit of his stay at York, and misses the gold summer of York, York city centre, the University and his office.
Before joining University of York, Furqan obtained an MS from LUMS, Lahore, one of the top ranked universities of Pakistan. He had an opportunity to study both theoretical and applied courses at LUMS. This was the time when his interest in graph theory, machine learning and computer vision was developed. Whilst searing for a PhD, he realised that Professors Edwin Hancock and Professor Richard Wilson would be the best supervisors for him as his area of interest was the same ie graph theory and its applications. Furqan said he feels very lucky that he was supervised by both of them.
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