Not Just An Engineer, But A ‘Problem Solver’

Dr Ansari Is Back In Pakistan And Leading A Team Of Budding Engineer Make Wondrous Inventions And Come Up With Innovative Solutions.

By Kashif Hussain

Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” This is what Dr Ali Ahmed Ansari, who leads and supervises a team that has designed Pakistan’s first microprocessor- an electronic component that is used by a computer to do its work, believes as well. And it is this belief that has led to him achieving remarkable feats as a student, an engineer and a mentor.

Dr Ansari developed interest in everything related to computers at a very young age. However, his journey in the field of engineering began with him opting to study radio and electronics in matric, under the Sindh Board of Technical Education. His interest, hard work and more importantly, curiosity and problem-solving skills led to him attaining the first position in the province in board exams. Since then, Dr Ansari hasn’t looked back.

The success gave him the confidence to pursue his interests. “Since then, I simply love making and breaking things,” says Dr Ansari. After completing his masters from the NED University of Engineering and Technology, he was selected for a fully-funded scholarship, granted by the Higher Education Commission, and went to South Korea for a PhD degree.

During the course of his studies in South Korea, Dr Ansari filed two patents for his inventions. When asked about his achievements, Dr Ansari says it’s all because of his parents. “They gave us the best upbringing possible,” he says.

New journey in old home

When Dr Ansari was awarded a PhD degree, he had opportunities a plenty knocking at his door. But he was decided. There was only one route he would be taking- the one back home. He wanted to return to Pakistan and help students and aspiring engineers accomplish their dreams as well. Besides, he says, “I once asked a wise man what I needed to do to be at the top. He told me to play the game in my home ground.”

Years later, Dr Ansari realises the wisdom behind the advice. When one is in a familiar setting, they are more confident and perform better, he explains. Though, he acknowledges that there are problems in Pakistan, his optimistic attitude has led to him easily overcoming these challenges. “In every problem, there is an opportunity. The more problems you face, more opportunities are presented to you.”

Investing in talent

So, Dr Ansari Is Back In Pakistan And Leading A Team Of Budding Engineers Make Wondrous Inventions And Come Up With Innovative Solutions. However, while he is amazed by the talent in Pakistan, Dr Ansari feels there is a wide gap between academia and the industry in the country. “Students here need mentorship and they can do wonders,” he says. “They only face difficulties after entering professional life because here, academia is not aligned with the industry.”

To narrow the gap between academic and industry, Dr Ansari’s team at the Usman Institute of Technology has launched an open source processor designing platform. Through this platform, Dr Ansari looks to familiarise students with technologies being employed in the industry and train students so that they make useful contributions to the semiconductor industry in Pakistan.

And he is already seeing results. “Some startups have started working in the industry and this shows that over the past one and a half year, we have been able to achieve our targets,” says Dr Ansari. But, he adds, there is a long way to go. Dr Ansari stresses the need to update curricula at engineering universities in Pakistan and focus on problem solving.

“An Engineer Should Be A Problem Solver. This Is Where Open Source Technologies Can Help,” He Says. At present, he leads a team of students who have designed Pakistan’s first microprocessor and for him this is just the beginning of a long journey of successes and accomplishments.

This news was originally published at Tribune.

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