I'm Saquib, a computer scientist, designer, and entrepreneur.
I invite you to read my publications, find out more about my development enterprise and tech transfer efforts, enjoy my art projects, or read about the fascinating world of embodied math in my blog. I recently founded a research lab that is incubating a few startups (in stealth mode). Scroll down to read summaries of selected research projects.
I design computational tools and interactive interfaces for broadening access to education and human rights. The users of my projects range from children to scientists. These interdisciplinary projects explore the boundaries between science, design, and enterprise.
Impact: My research significantly contributed to a multi-million dollar education technology startup (Wildflower Schools Innovation Lab), another work-in-progress commercial livestream product, as well as publications in top academic venues in HCI, AI, Physics, and History. I have advised and actively mentored some of the most successful tech startups in Bangladesh, helping them raise $25M so far. I also trained 18 Bangladeshi undergraduate students within a research organization that I founded, many are now PhD students in some reputed CS programs. 300+ students were also trained in Bangladesh through the workshops I organized on interdisciplinary engineering.
Education: I obtained my PhD from the MIT Media Lab in September 2020. I worked at the Laboratory for Social Machines and the Social Computing research groups. My research was funded by a PhD Fellowship from the Wildflower Schools. At MIT, my PhD advisor was Deb Roy, and Master's advisor was Sep Kamvar. Prior to that, I obtained a fully-funded research-based MS degree in Computational Engineering and Science at the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute and the School of Computing at University of Utah. Even prior to that, I attended Bard College, a liberal arts college at NY, as a Distinguished Science Scholar (a 4-year full scholarship program), studying Physics (major), and Computer Science and Mathematics (minors).
E. E. Cummings poem illustration. It also represents an embodied algebraic expression.
Embodied Mathematics by Interactive Sketching (PhD Dissertation)
My PhD dissertation is now available. It lays out interaction designs, design framework, data structures, and algorithms for sketching embodied representations of algebra.
The dissertation was nominated by the MIT Media Lab for ACM SIGCHI Outstanding Dissertation Award.
Constructing Embodied Algebra by Sketching
Nazmus Saquib, Rubaiat Habib, Li-Yi Wei, Gloria Mark, Deb Roy
Mathematical models and expressions traditionally evolved as symbolic representations, with cognitively arbitrary rules of symbol manipulation. The embodied mathematics philosophy posits that abstract math concepts are layers of metaphors grounded in our intuitive arithmetic capabilities, such as categorizing objects and part-whole analysis.
We introduce a design framework that facilitates the construction and exploration of embodied representations for algebraic expressions, using interactions inspired by innate arithmetic capabilities. We instantiated our design in a sketch interface that enables construction of visually interpretable compositions that are directly mappable to algebraic expressions and explorable through a ladder of abstraction.
The emphasis is on bottom-up construction, with the user sketching pictures while the system generates corresponding algebra. We present diverse examples created by our prototype system. A coverage of the US Common Core curriculum and playtesting studies with children point to the future direction and potential for a sketch-based design paradigm for mathematics.
Interactive Body-driven Graphics for Augmented Video Performance
Sensei: Sensing Educational Interaction
Swarm Communication to Track Montessori Learning Materials
Digital Humanities: Middle Eastern History Analytics
Placelet: Big Data for Small Places
Screen Balancer: Balancing Phenotypic Screen Time in Live Telecasts
Research Projects in Social Justice, Equity, and Implicit Bias
Here are a few papers from my research mentorship program that were published in NeurIPS workshops (Machine Learning for the Developing World, ML4D). These projects dealt with bias, equity, and social justice in the context of Bangladesh, and were done under my active mentorship and collaboration. The papers utilized computer vision, NLP, and network science methods.
Skyview and Quality of Living in Dhaka, Bangladesh
We show that people in lower economy classes may suffer from lower sky visibility, whereas people in higher economy classes may suffer from lack of greenery in their environment, both of which could be possibly addressed by implementing rent restructuring schemes. (paper, NeurIPS Workshop 2018)
Gender Portrayal in Bangladeshi TV
We demonstrate a noticeable discrepancy in female screen presence in Bangladeshi TV advertisements and political talk shows. Further, contrary to popular hypotheses, we demonstrate that lighter-toned skin colors are less prevalent than darker complexions, and additionally, quantifiable body language markers do not provide conclusive insights about gender dynamics. Overall, these gender portrayal parameters reveal the different layers of onscreen gender politics and can help direct incentives to address existing disparities in a nuanced and targeted manner. (paper, NeurIPS Workshop 2017)
Political Statements Echo Chambers
Our research results indicate there is a presence of cliquishness between powerful political leaders when it comes to their appearance in news. We also show how these cohesive cores form through the news articles, and how, over a decade, news cycles change the actors belonging in these groups. (paper, NeurIPS Workshop 2018)
My Wedding Card
A Primitive Radar
I built a primitive Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) during the MIT IAP 2018 in the Lincoln Lab. This is a picture of the radar experiments from the Stata Center.
Data Visualization Book
I wrote a book on scientific data visualization using Mathematica, specifically targeting programmers who are from science/engineering backgrounds. It details tricks and tips I learned over a decade of using Mathematica. It was published in 2014, has a GoodReads rating 4.33/5.
VR Sculpting and Painting
I have been sculpting VR worlds for the last two years. It is simply a great relaxing experience, I highly recommend it! The equipment and apps are usually Oculus Quest with Tilt Brush and Medium, but I work with Gravity Sketch too. Find out more in the Art page!
Muon Particle Beam Simulation
My MS thesis at Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute developed a mathematical shape matching pipeline for visualizing intrinsic curvature changes in isosurfaces of PDE solution fields. The pictures show applications in molecular dynamics, predicting charge distribution variation using isosurface curvature changes. Thesis pdf, defense slides.