Dr. Mubashir Husain Rehmani, a Pakistani origin researcher from Munster Technological University (MTU), Ireland, has been selected for inclusion on the annual Highly Cited Researchers™ 2021 list from Clarivate.
Dr. Mubashir’s work focuses on wireless networks, blockchain, cognitive radio networks, smart grids, and software-defined networks. He has written over 132 peer-reviewed articles, of which 11 feature among highly cited articles by Clarivate. His performance in this context features in the top 1% in Cross-Field. More precisely, in the domain of Computer Science, Telecommunications, and Engineering. His research work has been recognized internationally, and he is the recipient of several best paper awards. The highly anticipated annual list identifies researchers who demonstrated significant influence in their chosen field or fields by publishing multiple highly cited papers during the last decade. Their names are drawn from the publications that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and publication year in the Web of Science citation index.
This year’s list includes 24 Nobel laureates, including five announced this year. Also included are 77 Citation Laureate: individuals recognized by Clarivate, through citation analysis, as ‘of Nobel class’ and potential Nobel Prize recipients.
Below are excerpts of his recent conversation with our Chief Editor Saadeqa Khan.
Saadeqa: Let us know about your early life and education in Sindh? What was your primary motivation to you for becoming a world-class researcher?
Dr. Rehmani: I was born in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. My early school education (Matriculation) was from Gulshan-e-Iqbal Secondary School. I did my intermediate (FSc) from Government National College, Bahadurabad, Karachi.
My motivation for becoming a world-class researcher is to achieve excellence in my field of research so that my parents, my country Pakistan, and Muslims, in general, are proud of it and I can show that our religion does not stop us from acquiring scientific knowledge.
Saadeqa: Would you like to share an unforgettable experience of life that influenced your career?
Dr. Rehmani: It was the last semester of my Engineering Degree when I attended a bayan (sermon) and I was so excited to leave my studies and start learning about Islam. Though in the sermon, nobody asked to leave my studies but due to my personal feelings, I thought to leave my studies and start learning about Islam. Before making this decision, I thought to consult with a Mufti sahib (Mufti Muhammad Naeem Memon Sahib) and when I shared this intention then Mufti sahib suggested I forget about leaving my studies and instead fully focus on my studies. That was an unforgettable experience of my life and I believe that whatever I am now is just because of that correct guidance given to me by Mufti sahib at that time.
Saadeqa: What is the significance of the top 1% list issued by the Clarivate?
Dr. Rehmani: Clarivate is a kind of regulatory body within research. No matter how much research is done worldwide, and where it is published, this organization monitors these publications or journals and only makes lists after ensuring quality.
At present, there are about 18,000 to 20,000 science journals in the world. Each year Clarivate controls their impact factor and also issues details about their quality. In 2021, they collected data of researchers and scientists from the last tens years; their number is around 8 million. Then they arranged the best of them field-wise and selected the top 1 percent for each field.
In 2020, only 124 computer scientists worldwide could get in this category out of thousands of computer scientists. Clarivate ensures that the scientist doesn’t claim false or try to misguide in the wrong direction. Also, that scientific research should not last for one or two years, but he has written more research articles for a long time and those should be among well-cited ones.
Saadeqa: Would you please share details of your highly cited research papers in 2021?
Dr. Rehmani: I have several highly cited papers in 2021. These highly cited papers were on the topics of blockchain, privacy preservation, energy trading, smart grid, and cognitive radio. These papers were published in top-ranked journals in the field of Telecommunications, Computer Science, and Engineering.
Saadeqa: Do you encounter obstacles in your life and career? How do you manage, and what will you suggest for young researchers in Pakistan?
Dr. Rehmani: Yes, of course, I encountered obstacles in my life and career, and each passing day, I face new challenges. I try to discuss each of these challenges with elders and get advice from experienced persons in my scientific domain and try to follow the right path. Once I requested a piece of advice from Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani sahib and he suggested I do “رجوع الی اللہ”, i.e., always try to seek help from Allah against all difficulties and challenges, to seek to please Him, to seek protection and forgiveness from Him, and to be grateful and humble to Him.
My suggestion for young researchers in Pakistan is that they should always follow the right path, do not look for shortcuts, and never ever compromise on ethical principles.
Saadeqa: Your major research work is in wireless networks, cognitive radio, IoT, and blockchain. Which of them do you enjoy working on the most?
Well, I enjoy working on cognitive radio and blockchain.
Saadeqa: What contribution do you think your personal work has provided to your fields of expertise?
Dr. Rehmani: My personal work has contributed in many directions in my fields of expertise. Here, I mention a few: For instance, my work (a) helps to address the wireless radio spectrum scarcity problem, (b) helps to protect the critical infrastructure such as smart grid (or simply the electricity grid) from cyber attacks, (c) helps to protect the privacy of users, (d) improves the detection of stomach cancer, and (d) addresses the energy harvesting problem.
Saadeqa: What are the challenges and future research directions in blockchain specifically concerning privacy preservation?
Dr. Rehmani: From the perspective of privacy preservation in blockchain, the identity of mining nodes is still a challenge and there is a need to propose new mining solutions that protect the privacy of miner nodes. Similarly, achieving the balance between privacy-utility trade-offs is still an open issue and work is required in this area as well.
In order to forge scientific reasoning and thinking in Pakistani society, researchers and scientists need to focus on education and public engagement (EPE) activities.
Saadeqa: Let us know about the latest developments and challenges in the IoT?
Dr. Rehmani: In the Internet of Things (IoT), there are numerous latest developments. First, with the massive deployment of IoT devices, one can see these IoT devices in every field of life ranging from the health sector to industry, and from food provenance to smart agriculture. Second, with low-cost hardware, new applications are envisaged. Third, with the incorporation of machine learning and artificial intelligence, the computing capability of these IoT devices has improved. However, these massive deployments of IoT devices bring some challenges as well. For instance, how to manage this huge data being generated by these IoT devices?
Moreover, how can authentication of these IoT devices be done in an efficient manner? Since IoT devices are memory and energy-constrained, how complex machine learning algorithms can be executed on these devices? One of the important challenges is that these IoT devices will be everywhere and monitoring fine-grained details, thus, they will also increase the attack surface and thus require a lot of work to protect these devices from potential cyber-attacks.
Saadeqa: Pakistan’s telecom market has been struggling for a long time due to inadequate infrastructure. Foreign investment plays a vital role in its growth. Still, the process is doomed. What could be an effective strategy in this regard?
Dr. Rehmani: Currently, I don’t have sufficient experience in policymaking, thus, I prefer not to comment on this.
Saadeqa: What do you think are the primary reasons our educational institutions fail to nurture scientists? What are the essentials to forge scientific reasoning and thinking in Pakistani society?
Dr. Rehmani: If our educational institutes want to compete globally and want to be internationally recognized, then they need to follow and adopt the same scientific standards and metrics which are internationally recognized, and acceptable. Moreover, our educational institutes should design and develop policies that promote quality research and discourage unethical practices in scientific research.
In order to forge scientific reasoning and thinking in Pakistani society, researchers and scientists need to focus on education and public engagement (EPE) activities. In developed countries, it is essential for scientists and researchers to engage in such EPE activities to explain their complex scientific research to the general public and school students in simple words. The same practice can also be performed in Pakistan and this will help to develop scientific thinking in the long term in Pakistani society.
Saadeqa: What are your future targets to achieve and research plans for 2022?
Dr. Rehmnai: My future plans are to focus on my research work and try to excel as much as I can. More precisely, I will try to publish my research work in the world’s top-ranked scientific journals in my domain.
Saadeqa Khan is the founder, CEO, & Editor-in-Chief of Scientia Pakistan. Saadeqa got National Science Award 2019 (GOP), Agahi Award 2020, and Berlin Science week 2020 journalism grant. She is one of the finalists for the British FDM everywomen in Tech award 2021 in the academic category.