July 26, 2017

Khandaker Abir Rahman, November 2016 - Faculty Profile

Khandaker Abir Rahman is on the move. In more ways than one.

The SVSU assistant professor of computer science & information systems has an academic specialty in cyber behavioral biometrics, or the study of how people move — and behave — when surfing cyberspace.

It’s a subject that has, in a way, fascinated him since he began pursuing a profession in computer science while still a high school student in Dhaka, the capital and largest city in Bangladesh.

“My plan at first wasn’t to become an academic professor, but when I started my master’s degree, I fell in love with computer science research,” he said.

Now, more than a decade later on the campus of SVSU, Rahman’s work involves both inspiring students interested in the computer science fields while also attempting to make his mark felt in the engineering side of the industry.

Rahman and undergraduate student research assistants earlier this year filed a request with the U.S. Patent Office for technology that would allow consumers to unlock their smartphones using a series of physical movements.

To some, the concept may seem like a less secure alternative to the traditional method of typing a password on a keyboard. However, cyber behavioral biometrics-based studies, Rahman argues, shows a movement-based password system can offer a kind of security difficult to replicate by people other than the device’s owner.

Rahman also stays busy as advisor of the SVSU club that competes in the International Collegiate Programming Contest, a computer programming competition involving the top students in the world. Rahman’s group recently placed 51st out of 129 teams in the regional division that includes Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Eastern Ontario and Western Pennsylvania. Competition includes students from institutions with solid reputations in computer sciences such as University of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Waterloo and University of Toronto.

“They will give you a number of computer programming problems to solve, and a lot of teams can’t solve any of them,” Rahman said. “When we did well and placed 51st, the competition was surprised. They hadn’t heard of SVSU, but we did quite good.”

Rahman’s interests also led him to another responsibility that keeps him on the move. He serves as advisor to the SVSU Cricket Club that formed in recent months after the university supported a cricket field on campus.

“Cricket is my first hobby,” he said.

The club fell short during its first tournament competition against Wayne State University in September. During the game, though, Rahman wasn’t simply watching his team play. He became a player. The tournament organizers allowed him to move from the sidelines, onto one of the many fields he loves.