“One of the things I like about cloud computing research is how interdisciplinary it is. The complexity and scale of cloud systems, combined with a wide range of user demands, makes it an exciting research area.”
Meet Mohammad Shahrad, ECE’s newest Assistant Professor! Mohammad is joining UBC from Princeton University. His research focuses on improving the efficiency of cloud computing systems through better resource management and enhanced system/architecture integration. This upcoming year, he’ll be teaching CPEN 221 and EECE 571H at ECE.
We sat down with him to get to know more about his background, his teaching, what drew him to cloud computing, and why he chose the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UBC!
What is your educational and professional background?
After completing undergraduate studies at Sharif University of Technology, I went to graduate school in New Jersey, where I did my master’s and Ph.D. at Princeton University. I spent almost a year during my Ph.D. doing research internships at Microsoft Research, and then spent the last academic year as a lecturer at the Computer Science Department at Princeton University.
What brought you to UBC Electrical and Computer Engineering?
UBC is a globally renowned institution conducting cutting-edge research and graduating high-quality alumni across a wide variety of disciplines. In addition, UBC is in the vicinity of a vibrant metropolitan area with numerous relevant tech industries, and, more importantly, is surrounded by fantastic nature. All of these will facilitate a happy and successful journey for me and my students. As to why ECE, my research area is interdisciplinary and spans over the domains of software and hardware. I am very excited to be part of the diverse mix of faculty at ECE.
What are your areas of research and how did you get into this field?
My research focuses on improving the efficiency of large-scale cloud computing systems. Cloud systems form the backbone of today’s internet services and host most of the world’s data. At this scale, even the smallest inefficiencies can result in wasting significant amount ofmoney and energy. I’m always seeking ways to manage cloud infrastructure more wisely, and this involves designing better system software and enhancing hardware/software integration.
What fuels your research – what prompted you to research this area?
One of the things I like about cloud computing research is how interdisciplinary it is. The complexity and scale of cloud systems, combined with a wide range of user demands, makes it an exciting research area. Cloud computing is an enabling technology, and its advancement can benefit the IT industry, and ultimately society too.
What inspires you to teach?
Teaching is a unique opportunity that allows one to touch many lives, hopefully in the best way. Imagining the types of positions my students could hold in a few years, and the impact that I hope they’ll have on society motivates my teaching.
What do you believe is the future of your industry?
I think cloud services will become more and more transparent, making it easier for developers to focus more closely on creating value instead of spending time configuring or selecting cloud options. I also believe that we will see third-party vendors selling various kinds of specialized hardware accelerators through cloud providers.
What are you passionate about outside work?
Aside from spending time with my family, I love being in nature, gardening, and carpentry.