May 29, 1978 |
Sukkur, Sindh, Pakistan
|Alma mater||Florida Institute of Technology|
|Occupation||CTO at Quarrio|
|Awards||Fulbright Scholar (2004-2009)
Eisenhower Fellow (2012)
BIARI Fellow (2014)
East West Center Scholar (2008)
Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani (Urdu: ذیشان الحسن عثمانی) is a Pakistani data scientist, writer, entrepreneur, and scholar in the field of computer science. He is a Fulbright grant recipient and holds multiple degrees in the field of computer science. Usmani has authored numerous books in the field of technology, politics, and international affairs, including one book documenting his journey and education as a Fulbright scholar. His PhD thesis Modeling and Simulation of Suicide Bombing was also published in book form. His study on the impact of drone strikes in Pakistan was published in 2014 by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University where he is also a visiting scholar.
Usmani is an Eisenhower Fellow, having received the honor in 2012. He has worked in PredictifyMe, a predictive analytics firm, at Quarrio, a business intelligence querying platform, Citi Bank and Discover Financials. Usmani has performed extensive research on the effects of suicide bombings, including developing a predictive model to help reduce injuries in the event of a suicide bombing. Due to inclinations towards data science Usmani has developed pet projects which include: Pakistan Body Count, and Find My Worth. He is also an alumnus of National Defense University.
Early life and education
Usmani was born in 1978 in Sukkur, Pakistan which is located in the province of Sindh. He is the youngest of fourteen siblings and has a twin brother as well as a pair of twin sisters. His early education was completed at Shah Faisal Mosque before moving on to Modern High School, for both his primary and secondary education, earning distinction passing his matriculation examinations. He then attended S.M.A. College where he completed his Intermediate (HSC) education, obtaining his first position at the college as a pre-medical student.
Usmani continued his education at Petroman Training Institute, an affiliated college with Shah Abdul Latif University, in Khairpur. He completed his undergraduate with a Bachelor of Computer Science, earning a 3.9 GPA. Usmani moved to Karachi in 1999 where he began working at the same time he pursued his master's degree at the Preston Institute of Management Science and Technology. He completed his M.S. at the Institute in 2002 and began working as an instructor and lead engineer at the school's research and development center.
Usmani continued his education while working in his professional career. He enrolled at Karachi Institute of Economics and Technology for continuing education credits, spending a year at the institute before joining Lahore University of Management Sciences to work on his second master's degree. He moved to Florida after receiving a Fulbright scholarship to attend the Florida Institute of Technology, earning a Masters in Computer Science, competing his degree in 2006. As part of his Master’s thesis, he has developed a simulation of supermarkets to observe and quantify the effects of herd behavior on impulse shopping by customers. He came back to Florida Tech to complete his PhD, attending the university on his second Fulbright scholarship and graduating in 2009.
Usmani began his career in 1999 after moving to Karachi to attend Preston Institute of Management Science and Technology. He began as a lead engineer and instructor for the school's research and development center. After moving on to further his education at Lahore University of Management Sciences, Usmani joined GIFT University as a technical consultant. He worked with GIFT for a year prior to moving to the United States to attend Florida Tech. After completing his first stint with Florida Tech, Usmani moved to New Jersey where he joined ECMTek Inc. as an Ab Initio developer. At ECMTek, he worked on projects with CitiBank in New York before moving on to work on a project at Discover Financial at that company's headquarters in Riverwoods, Illinois.
After completing his PhD, Usmani returned to Pakistan as part of the fulfillment of his Fulbright scholarship. He joined the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology where he worked as an assistant professor in the school's computer science and engineering department. After a year at the Institute, he moved to Islamabad where he took a position as chief of research for Interactive Group. In 2014, Usmani moved back to the US on O-1 Visa to join PredictifyMe. He later joined Quarrio in 2016. He has moved back to Pakistan in 2017.
Research and writing
Usmani began writing for publications while after graduating from the Preston Institute of Management Science and Technology. He wrote monthly for Global Science, a popular science magazine in Pakistan. Usmani published his first book in 2003. Since that time he has published several others, including three about his educational experience in the United States and being an Eisenhower Fellow and Fulbright Scholar. He has also written multiple research papers in the field of computer science.
Usmani's research work has been mainly centered on simulation and modeling of suicide bombings. In 2011 he published Simulation of Suicide Bombing: Using Computers to Save Lives. The book details BlastSim, a physics-based software platform that simulates suicide bombing events. The software tests, analyzes, and validates results of suicide bomb attacks, including recreating actual bombing events for forensic analysis. It has a 91% accuracy with predicting injury and fatality rates under various conditions. Usmani's research is used to take preemptive measures to minimize casualties in potential bombing situations such as providing safe distance recommendations.
Usmani's work has been mentioned in Wall Street Journal, AOL News, Wired Magazine, NPR, MIT’s Technology Review, Florida Today, and The Economist. He has worked as a consultant to both the Sindh Police and the Anti-Narcotics Force in Pakistan. His software also helped determine that the February 2010 Karachi bombings were actually planted explosives and not a suicide attack. His research is also part of Pakistan Body Count, a website he founded that contains the longest running tally of suicide bombings and drone attacks in Pakistan.
Outside of his work in the field of computer science, Usmani has authored a series of novels for youth in Urdu. The series contains four books with the first one titled A Passage to Illumination (Urdu: جستجو کا سفر), the second being The Journey Within (Urdu: اندر کا مسافر), the third Sins Interrupted (Urdu: ادھورے گناہ), and the fourth The Calling (Urdu: اذان). The novels take place in an impoverished village in Pakistan. The main character, Abdullah, sets out to change his life through self-discovery using religion and spirituality. Abdullah earns a scholarship to the United States where he challenges everything he had previously learned about the U.S. in his lifetime.
PredictifyMe is a predictive analytics company with headquarters in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and Islamabad, Pakistan. The company uses advanced algorithms and data sets to predict outcomes of social and commercial problems. The company products are primarily geared towards security, retail, and healthcare.
Working with the United Nations
On March 18, 2015, UN special envoy for global education and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced Partnership of United Nations with PredictifyMe. The sole purpose of Partnership was to involve the technical abilities of PredictifyMe to counter terrorist attacks on educational institutes all over the world. Mr. Brown pledged to fight terrorism and related causes that hinders the basic right of education to children.
He said “Among the new developments to address the children’s crisis, I can announce today a 1,000 school pilot in Pakistan in a partnership between the government, UNICEF and the Global Business Coalition for Education, spearheaded by a pro-bono technology contribution from Predictify.Me, a US-based data sciences and predictive analytics firm. The partnership will deliver state-of-the-art technology and simulation software to assess the level of risk preparedness of schools and generate recommendations for school and community safety plans. Each school will receive specific recommendations for improving the school’s set-up to become safer and recommendations for community measures and ongoing risk forecasts". 
Quarrio is a business intelligence querying platform where Usmani has worked as a CTO and was responsible for developing the product. Notable accomplishments of the start-up include being selected for the Salesforce incubator where the platform is currently being developed to accommodate the Salesforce suite of products.
In the Media
Usmani has had the following media mentions:
- "Who's joining ISIS? It might surprise you..." by CNNMoney
- "This startup could help thwart school bombings" by CNNMoney
- "Could this company predict the next terror attack?" by CNNtech
- "This story will get 13,000 hits" by CNNtech
- "UN special envoy for global education Gordon Brown calls 2015 the year of ending the violation of the rights of the child" by The Office of the UN Special Envoy for Global Education
- "Technology company joins safe schools initiative in Pakistan" by Global Business Coalition For Education
- "UN to monitor safety measures at Pakistani schools" by The Nation
- "Gordon Brown leads charge for safe schools in conflict zones" by France24
- "Mapping the ultimate Halloween candy haul route: Sweetest use of Big Data ever?" by NetworkWorld
- "Napkins - The art of everyday living" by TEDxFairyMeadows
- "Countering terror with technology" by TEDxLahore
- "Adventure enthusiasts lament security lapse, attempt to scare tourists away" by The Express Tribune
- "Drone attacks hit all-time high" by The Express Tribune
- "Learning from suicide blasts" by The Express Tribune
- "Using Science Against Suicide Bombs" by The Wall Street Journal
- "Pakistani Site: Drones Only Killed One Terrorist in 2010 (If You Don’t Count Taliban)" by Wired
- "Swarming the shelves" by The Economist
- "Driving Impulse Shopping with a Smart Cart" by MIT Technology Review
|2011||Simulation of Suicide Bombing: Using Computers to Save Lives||iUniverse||ISBN 9781440194412|
|2010||Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agents||INTECH||ISBN 9789537619855|
|2009||Influencing Customers Through Customers – Simulation of Herd Behavior in Supermarkets||VDM Verlag Dr. Müller||ISBN 9783639154092|
|2007||Ambassadors of Peace: Experiences of Pakistani and U.S. Exchange Scholars||iUniverse||ISBN 9780595681464|
|2007||Beyond Boundaries: Reflections of Indian and U.S. Scholars||iUniverse||ISBN 9780595436446|
|2006||Experiencing America: through the eyes of visiting Fulbright Scholars||AuthorHouse||ISBN 9781425936457|
|2005||Fulbright Scholar – From Sukkur to Florida||Global Science Multi-Publications|
|2003||C/C++ with Object-Oriented Programming||Global Science Multi-Publications|
- 2014: The Impact of Drone Strikes in Pakistan, Brown University
- 2014: I am a Muslim, How Can I Help?
- 2013: Modeling and Simulation of Explosion Effectiveness as a Function of Blast and Crowd Characteristics Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation
- 2009: Computational Intelligence in Virtual Environments Computational Intelligence in Virtual Environments CIVE Workshop
Awards and recognition
Usmani has won numerous awards for both his research and as an entrepreneur. In 2012 he received the Best IT Innovation Award given to him by the Frontiers of Information Technology. The following year he received the Teradata IT Excellence Award in Research and Development for his project on terrorism forecasting, and was the winner of the TiE StartUp Cup Pakistan. In 2014 he followed up by winning the World Startup Cup in Armenia.
Zeeshan-ul-Hassan Usmani is married to Binish Bhagwanee, whom he married on Pakistan Day in 2001. In October 2016 Dr. Usmani's son Abdul Aziz was bullied and beaten in North Carolina because of his Islamic faith. As opposed to Zeeshan Usmani and his son's claim, NC authorities and the Wake County School System have denied any evidence of the same upon investigation. His family immediately left USA after the incident and returned to Pakistan. He has four children, all boys.
- Siddiqui, Salman (26 July 2010). "Learning from suicide blasts". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Regan, Jack. "This story will get 13,000 hits". CNNMoney.
- Wright, Tom (19 June 2010). "Using Science Against Suicide Bombs". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Usmani, Zeeshan-ul-hassan (4 December 2014). "The Impact of Drone Strikes in Pakistan" (PDF). Brown University. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Terry, Julie (30 April 2014). "Dr. Zeeshan Usmani predicts life, death and breakfast with analytics". Research Triangle Park. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Fulbright Scholars Discuss Time in Africa". National Public Radio. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "ISSRA Alumni". National Defense University. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "About Me". Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani official website. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "Fulbright Scholar Publishes on Exchange Scholar Experience". Florida Institute of Technology. 2 March 2007. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Researcher Models Effects of a Suicide Bombing: Results of Crowd Configurations". Phys.org. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Wars Are Not Fought On Battlefields". World Beyond War. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "Author Interview: Science Against Suicide Bombs". Pakus Alumni Network. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Mudur, G.S. (16 November 2007). "Terror test on class & concert - Rows safer than circles in suicide bomb attack". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Crawford, Neta (2013). Accountability for Killing: Moral Responsibility for Collateral Damage in America's Post-9/11 Wars. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199981724.
- "A Passage to Illumination". Narrative Books. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Justujoo ka Safar". Narrative Books. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Andar Ka Musafir (The Inner Traveler)". Narrative Books. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "American and Pakistani Fellows Launch Groundbreaking Company". Eisenhower Fellowships. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Baum, Stephanie (16 January 2015). "Big data analytics startup adding healthcare channel". Med City News. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "Press Release: UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown calls 2015 the year of ending the violation of the rights of the child". The Office of the UN Special Envoy for Global Education.
- "This Raleigh Startup Will Help the UN Stop Bombings in Pakistan Schools". ExitEvent.
- "PredictifyMe is harnessing technology to fight terrorism". Tech in Asia.
- "Salesforce Accelerates Ecosystem Innovation with Launch of New Incubator". startups.salesforce.com. Julia Barrett.
- Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani. "Modeling and Simulation of Explosion Effectiveness as a Function of Blast and Crowd Characteristics". sagepub.com.
- "IEEE Xplore - Sign In". ieee.org.
- "Best IT Innovation Awards 2014". Frontiers of Information Technology. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "Teradata national IT excellence awards recognize the IT Industry and talent in Pakistan". The News Tribe. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- "Firm Specializing in Simulation and Modeling of Suicide Bombings Wins Pakistan Startup Cup". Pakistan21. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Kasakove, Sphie. "Running The Numbers". The Indy. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Mathias, Christopher (12/10/2016). "N.C. Authorities: No Evidence To Support Father's Claim Muslim Boy Was Assaulted On Bus". Huffington Post. Check date values in: