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Nur Zincir‑Heywood, professor

A day in the life

Nur Zincir‑Heywood, professor

We are a very multi-cultural Faculty in terms of students, staff, and faculty members. So one never feels isolated.

Dr. Nur Zincir-Heywood teaches the third year Network Computing class (CSCI 3717) which presents students with a top-down view of the layered architectural elements of communication systems, focusing on the Internet and TCP/IP.

Dr. Zincir-Heywood, a full professor within the Faculty of Computer Science, has been at Dalhousie since 2000. She leads the Dalhousie Network Information Management and Security (NIMS) Lab – a group that does research on autonomous systems.

“These are systems that try to learn and monitor their own behavior,” she explains. “We study how these systems monitor their behavior and how they modify themselves depending on the feedback from the environment. If we can understand the behaviour that we observe in these computers, then we can understand the people who are using these computers.”

In the future, Dr. Zincir-Heywood and the rest of her lab plan to continue working on their autonomous systems to make them more and more aware of their environment. They hope to create a system that is helping the person using that system to detect problems and resolve the issue.

“We want to build a system that lasts. The system will last because it understands its mission, and what the user wants it to do.”

Undergraduate students get to learn directly from the work that happens in NIMS Lab.

Beyond the classroom

Dr. Zincir-Heywood founded the Faculty’s Culture of Respect Committee in Computer Science (CoRe-CS) in April 2015 with a mission to enhance the learning, social and working environment for everyone by encouraging respectful and bias free behaviours through a process of engagement, communication and education.

When asked what she likes most about the Faculty, she says “We are a very multi-cultural Faculty in terms of students, staff, and faculty members. So one never feels isolated. When you feel you are in a friendly environment that impacts one’s work in a positive way and takes you a long way in terms of balancing your work and life.”