by Eric D. Lehman, Associate Professor, Communications Specialist, and Julie Demers, Faculty Research Day Coordinator
University of Bridgeport Ph.D. graduate Muneer Alshowkan is now a research scientist in the Quantum Communications and Networking Group at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
At UB, Alshowkan earned his doctoral degree in Computer Science and Engineering, and at graduation he was recognized with the prestigious School of Engineering Academic Achievement Award for excellence. “I came to know Muneer when he was a Ph.D. student and I was his dissertation advisor for five years,” says Dr. Khaled Elleithy, Dean of the College of Engineering, Business, and Education and Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies and Research. “He is energetic and bright, one of those graduate assistants who is open and receptive to new ideas.”
Since it was established in 2006, UB’s Ph.D. program in Computer Science and Engineering has graduated 75 students. Students must display a thorough understanding in the major areas of computer science and engineering and must master the necessary tools and techniques to be able to make original contributions to the field.
One of the newest and most interesting topics to study is quantum computing and cybersecurity. When Dr. Elleithy offered a 600-level Quantum Computing course, it was an emerging discipline. Alshowkan took the class during his second semester and jumped at the chance to focus his ongoing research in this exciting discipline. “I like challenges, and this seemed to be a really challenging field,” he says. “I also wanted to work in cybersecurity, and quantum added a layer of security that cannot be broken.”
As a Ph.D. student, Alshowkan worked in UB’s Wireless and Mobile Communications Laboratory and collaborated with Dr. Elleithy on several research papers in high-impact journals and conferences, including IEEE and ACM. He presented one paper at an important conference in Long Beach, California. “It added to my credentials and helped with my career,” he says with enthusiasm. His dissertation, “Deterministic and Efficient Three-Party Quantum Key Distribution,” demonstrates a key distribution protocol and provides a window into the future of computing.
Today, Alshowkan is one of many UB Ph.D. graduates who work at national and international universities, for industry leading companies, and in national research laboratories. UB’s focus on practical, hands-on research is one reason for their success. “Everyone at UB is doing research, even in the early stages when there is no pressure to publish yet. We were encouraged to research and publish as much as possible.”
In his job at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Alshowkan designs, implements, deploys, and secures quantum and classical networks for the nation’s largest science and energy national laboratory. He continues to address new engineering challenges as quantum networks become the wave of the future. “The field is growing and there are many opportunities for jobs,” he says. “I would encourage anyone to follow their dreams and pursue engineering at UB.”
Learn more about UB’s College of Engineering, Business, and Education.