Q & A
with Dr. Monowar Hasan
Ph.D.: Computer Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
M.Sc.: Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Manitoba
What do you teach?
I teach computer security.
Why do you like teaching?
I want to share my knowledge and vision about the field. I feel refreshed to see students attend my lectures just to learn and explore something new. I also know many things while I prepare my lessons and during the in-class discussions with my students.
What drew you to your field of study?
I work in computer systems, making them more secure, dependable, and resilient. Security solutions were often an afterthought and not considered a part of many systems designs. As a result, many production systems were vulnerable, as evidenced by many real-world attacks in various domains, including financial sectors, medical devices, data centers, and enterprise systems, to embedded devices such as drones and autonomous cars. Hence there is a need for a concerted effort to secure critical systems. My research aims to design new protocols, frameworks, tools, and algorithms and protect those safety-critical systems against malicious actions.
What keeps you motivated in your work?
All the new, practical research challenges and the great work done by my students that solves real-world problems keep me motivated.
Why would you recommend Washington State University to others?
WSU’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science is building a world-class cybersecurity program to solve pressing problems and prepare a next-generation cybersecurity workforce for the nation. WSU is one of the top places to get an education and do cutting-edge research. I strongly recommend students, prospective faculty, and educators visit WSU and consider joining.
What advice do you have for students?
Do not worry about (or chase for) grades or jobs – focus on “learning” the materials. If you are doing your best, you should be able to get most of the content from your classes. End of the day, enjoy life and have fun while you have time.
What does your research consist of?
I work on building secure computer systems, mainly those consisting of “cyber” and “physical” components (e.g., power plants, medical devices, robots, automobiles, and drones). Think about a critical system, say a medical device, power plant, or autonomous car. If there exists some hardware/software fault or some bad guys breach the system and prevent its intended behavior, the result could be catastrophic. For example, an autonomous car may fail to break timely if its vision subsystem cannot detect pedestrians due to fault, bug, or attack. My research aims to prevent such malicious/faulty actions and make critical systems resilient, secure, and hence, safer.
If you could name one person who inspires you, who would it be?
What do you like to do when you’re not teaching or researching?
I am a car enthusiast. I enjoy reading about automobiles and watching car videos. I also like driving, traveling, and hiking.