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MUHAMMAD MUZZAMIL LUQMAN - Ph.D. in Computer Science

What is your professional / educational background and what is your Ph.D. Topic?
I did my high school diploma in Pakistan, finishing in 2000. In 2004, I did my Bachelor of Computer Science (Honors) with academic roll of honor and the medal for being first in my class, at the Government College University in Lahore, Pakistan. From 2005 to 2007 I had my first work experience as a computer programmer, software developer, and finally as a project head. In 2007, I won a competitive exam of the Higher Education Commission of the government of Pakistan and qualified for a scholarship to continue my studies in France. In 2008, I finished my research Master's in computer science at the Polytechnic School of the University François Rabelais.

After my research Master's, I started my dissertation in Computer Science, a joint Ph.D. between the Computer Science laboratory at the University of Tours and the Computer Vision Center at the Autonoma University of Barcelona, Spain. The title of my Ph.D. thesis is “Fuzzy Multilevel Graph Embedding for Recognition, Indexing and Retrieval of Graphic Document Images”. The representative keywords for my research domain include pattern recognition, graphics recognition, document image analysis/recognition, graph embedding. My research work addresses the problem of a lack of efficient computational tools for graph-based structural pattern recognition approaches and proposes to exploit computational strength of statistical pattern recognition.

How has the Ph.D. process been for you?
My Ph.D. was an excellent experience, above all because of the scholarship from the Higher Education Commission of the government of Pakistan for the first three years. A half-time teaching and research associateship (A.T.E.R.) at the Polytechnic School of the University Francois Rabelais of Tours financed the last 6 months of my Ph.D. As a result I also had the possibility to dedicate a lot of time to my research and I was able to teach as well. Thanks to financing from the Computer Science laboratory in Tours and the Computer Vision Center of Barcelona, I was able to profit from several long research stays in Barcelona, as well as to attend international summer schools and to present my research work at several national and international conferences. Finally, I would say that, because of the fatherly and friendly behavior of my two dissertation advisers, I will always remember the dissertation process as an excellent experience in my life.

What have you learned from this experience?
The dissertation experience has taught me the skills to work autonomously, to lead a project and to deliver results on time. It has also allowed me to acquire organizational abilities, project management and research management. Writing research articles, book chapters, giving presentations and attending research conferences and the writing of the dissertation itself have helped me to adore and appreciate the professional life of a researcher. My dissertation has provided me with an opportunity to evolve scientifically, professionally and personally.

What advice would you give to a student who was considering a Ph.D.?
In my humble opinion, the track of pursuing a Ph.D. is for those who like to target problems and find their solutions. Be careful, as for most Ph.D. students, the Ph.D. is their first long-term project. My only advice for future Ph.D. students is to be very careful while choosing the thesis topic. You are going to work on your project for at least three years. So, choose a topic that will allow you to remain motivated for the entire period of the Ph.D.

What are you doing now?
Currently, I am a post-doctoral researcher in France. Normally, if all goes well, I will be an assistant professor at the university this year.