I am an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. I direct the Third Space research group at the DGP Lab. I am also an affiliated faculty at the UofT iSchool, and at the School of Environment, a Faculty Affiliate at the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society.
I co-organize the monthly UofT Critical Computing Seminar that hosts speakers analyzing computer science and its applications from the perspectives of marginalization, bias, and oppression. I co-direct the PRISM program at the CS Department that trains students from marginalized communities for higher education in computer science. I also lead the weekly Critical Data Science reading group that studies and analyzes recent scholarly work around AI and Machine Learning from various critical points of view.
My research interest is situated at the intersection of computer science and the critical social sciences. My work is often motivated by social justice and sustainability issues, and I put them in the academic contexts of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Information and Communication Technology and Development (ICTD). I operate through a wide range of technical and methodological apparatuses from ethnography to design, and from NLP to tangible user interface.
I earned my PhD at Cornell University, where I was advised by Steve Jackson. Before moving to North America, I studied and taught Computer Science at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). I developed and still mentor the first HCI community in Bangladesh.
I am a Connaught Scholar ('23), a Schwartz Reisman Fellow ('21), a Senior Massey Fellow ('21), a Fulbright Centennial Fellow ('19), a Global Young Researcher ('19), a Connaught New Researcher ('18), an Intel Technology and Society Fellow ('15), a Fulbright S&T Fellow ('11), and an OpenStreetMap Scholar ('10). My research has received generous support from all three divisions of Canada's federal tri-council research agency: NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC. I also received faculty research awards from Facebook/Meta ('22) and Google ('19).
I was the Program Committee Chair for ICTD 2022 and IndiaHCI 2022.
My full name is Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, which I use for all formal purposes, including publications.
Recent Highlights: (see all news here)
* Oct '23: Received the Google Research Award for Inclusion!
* July '23: Awarded the Connaught Scholarship!
* July '23: Data Sciences Institute Catalyst Grant [news]
* July '23: Data Sciences Institute Emergent Data Sciences Program Grant
* July '23: Institute of Pandemics Catalyst Grant
* July '23: Two papers accepted to COMPASS' 23
* Jun '23: Panel Discussion at "Absolutely Interdisciplinary" conference
* Mar '23: Became a Father of a beautiful son!!
In Public Press:
* Mar '21: Interaction article, "Designing with Internally Displaced Slum Dwellers in Bangladesh"
* Sep '20: (IIE Centennial Blog): Repairing and Recycling of Digital Electronics during COVID-19
* Sep '20: Blog post (ACM Interactions): "Fighting Coronavirus with Faith"
* May '20: Op-ed (Daily Star): "COVID-19 and the economization of life in Bangladesh"
* Apr '20: Op-ed (Prothom Alo): "করোনা মোকাবিলা: ডেটানির্ভর প্রযুক্তি ও ব্যক্তিগত তথ্য নিরাপত্তা"
* Apr '20: Talk Show Interview on Ekattor TV on COVID19. [Link]