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Research Themes

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Big Data & The Problem of Duplication

The Cloud stores all sorts of digital files, and the global data supply has grown exponentially. But where do we store all of this data? Dr. Fatema Rashid (our first PhD graduate) believes the answer to this problem can be found by addressing “data duplication”. By identifying and removing duplicate copies from cloud-based storage systems, we can help ease the burden of Big Data storage.

“If someone likes a cat video, they might share it on a social media channel like Facebook,” said Rashid. “If thousands of other people also like that video and share it, without my research, thousands of copies of the same video would have to be stored over and over again wasting space, costing service providers money and actually affecting our environment as Facebook buys more and more storage space (using lots of power) to accommodate the same cat video. My research suggests a secure and effective way of ‘deduplicating’ digital information – one cat video, not thousands or millions.”

Her research has profound implications on the future of Big Data storage. And now she hopes to inspire the next generation of computer science students. Her goal is to teach computer science so she can open others up to the opportunities that exist in the field. “Computer Science is a rich discipline,” says Rashid. “where you can explore the edges of its knowledge and contribute to expanding them.”


SaaSy Cloud Computing

On September 10, 2015, Mubarak Alrashoud became the first international student to complete the Department of Computer Science’s PhD program. His thesis, entitled “Release Planning for Multi-Tenant SaaS Applications,” focuses on software release planning for cloud computing and provides a model for solving the problem of next-release planning in SaaS applications (e.g., CRM in sales). In such applications, SaaS providers compete to attract more tenants (i.e., users of their software) and also want to be able to maintain their current tenants. Therefore, they frequently deliver very short releases of the software in order to fulfil the evolving needs of thousands of tenants who want new features or to change their service-level agreements. The three approaches Alrashoud proposed in his thesis will help SaaS providers to increase the effectiveness of the proposed releases in terms of tenants’ satisfaction and software quality.

Prior to joining the Computer Science PhD program in 2011-2012, Alrashoud already had a broad range of experience in software engineering and project management. Under Dr. Abdolreza Abhari’s supervision, Alrashoud presented at leading conferences and published in highly ranked journals. Alrashould says, “I learned from my supervisor that being patient, optimistic and a hard worker are important to complete successful research. My supervisor provided me with endless encouragement and support during my studies. Dr. Abhari taught me how to conduct high-quality research and how to apply theoretical knowledge to real-word projects.”

Dr. Abhari notes that Alrashoud also benefited from the advice of other professors in the departments of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Since the start of his studies at Ryerson, Alrashoud’s supervisory committee comprised Dr. Voja Misic, Dr. Ebrahim Bagheri and Dr. Andriy Miranskyy. Later, it was rounded out by Dr. Cherie Ding and Dr. Soosan Beheshti. Alrashoud also thanks Dr. Alex Ferworn, the program’s graduate director, and Norman Pinder, Computer Science’s graduate officer, for their help and support throughout his PhD studies.

Faculty Members