Hossein Rahnama

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Hossein Rahnama
BornMay 8, 1980 (1980-05-08) (age 38)
Alma materRyerson University (BC S, MS, PhD)
OccupationFounder and CEO of Flybits, Co-Founder and Director of Research and Innovation at Ryerson University Digital Media Zone, Assistant Professor at the RTA School of Media, Director of Research at Ryerson Centre for Cloud and Context-Aware Computing (RC4)

Hossein Rahnama (born 1980) is a recognized figure in ubiquitous and pervasive computing. His research explores artificial intelligence, mobile human-computer interaction, and the effective design of contextual services. In 2017, Hossein was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. In 2012, he was recognized by the MIT Technology Review as one of the world’s top innovators under the age of 35 for his research in context-aware computing. The Smithsonian named Hossein as one of the top six innovators to watch. Hossein has 30 publications and 10 patents in ubiquitous computing, is serving on the board of Canadian Science Publishing, and was a Council Member of the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Hossein is also a visiting scholar at the Human Dynamics group at MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA. He has a PhD in Computer Science from Ryerson University.

Hossein is the Founder & CEO of Flybits, "a context-as-a-service company that enables enterprises to unify disparate sources of data and create highly personalized customer experiences."[1] Hossein is also an assistant professor at the RTA School of Media, and the Co-Founder/Director of Research at the Ryerson Centre for Cloud and Context Aware Computing (RC4) in Toronto, Canada.


In 2004, Rahnama completed his undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Ryerson University. He continued to attend Ryerson for his doctoral degree and postdoctoral work in Electrical and Computer Engineering. During his studies, Rahnama received a number of academic awards and grants for his research, including being a semi-finalist for the business plan competition at Harvard Business School for his innovative research on Flybits in 2008.[2]


As an undergraduate student at Ryerson University, Hossein began his career at Rogers Communications as a wireless applications developer in 2000 under the supervision of Brad Fortner. In 2003, he worked at Alpha Global Labs as a software and knowledge engineer, working on medical expert systems and the applicability of mobile devices in medical settings.

Prior to his doctoral studies at Ryerson, Hossein was a mobile applications architect at Primus Telecommunications in London, England. From 2007 to 2010, Hossein served as the Vice President of Research and Innovation at Appear Networks located in Kista, Sweden, where he participated in a successful European Research Project (MUSIC). In 2009, Hossein completed his doctoral studies at Ryerson and in 2010, he co-founded the Ryerson Digital Media Zone, which in 2015 became the number #1 university business incubator in North America and #3 in the world by the Swedish UBI Index. Under Hossein's direction, The DMZ has helped fuel, grow and graduate over 287 startups. They’ve raised $306 million in seed funding and have fostered the creation of more than 2,900 jobs.[2]

In 2013, Hossein initialized the opening of the Ryerson Centre for Cloud and Context-Aware Computing, where he acts as Director of Research. Inspired by his PhD work on contextual awareness and ubiquitous computing, Hossein founded Flybits that same year. As stated on the Flybits website, "the context-as-a-service product simplifies how data is converted into intelligence. Flybits enables enterprises to harness all sources of data — proprietary, public, from device sensors and real time user behavior — to deliver personalized mobile experiences."[3] In November 2015 Deloitte named Flybits a "Company to Watch,"[3] and in June 2016 Gartner selected the company as one of four "Cool Vendors" in the platform-as-a-service category.[4] Flybits has offices in Toronto, the San Francisco Bay Area, and London, UK.

Hossein promotes experiential learning and is interested in involving undergraduate students in research and innovation projects from early stages of their careers. Hossein is also an advocate for the Canadian-European research collaborations in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, where he has collaborated with more than 14 industry partners across Europe, including companies in Sweden and Norway.[5]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Membership in Professional Societies[edit]

  • Board Member, Canadian Science Publishing (CSP) (2016–Present)
  • Council Member, Council Member at the National Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) (2013-2016)
  • Regular Speaker, International Think Tank
  • Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Member, IEEE Magnetics Society
  • Member, Association for Computing Machinery
  • Member, Special Interest Group for Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing
  • Member and Advisor, European Consortium in Intelligent Transport Systems
  • Member, Canadian Consortium in Intelligent Transport Systems
  • Ambassador, Privacy by Design
  • Member, Canadian Innovation Exchange


External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Flybits". Archived from the original on 2012-04-21.
  2. ^ Hossein, Rahnama. "Curriculum Vitae". Hossein Rahnama. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  3. ^ "Flybits". Archived from the original on 2012-04-21.
  4. ^ "Top 30 Under 30" (PDF). Ryerson University. June 2009. Retrieved 2012-06-27.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Rahnama, Hossein. "Curriculum Vitae". Missing or empty |url= (help)