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Dr. Bilal Zaka (Computer scientist)#


* June 02, 1975 Lahore, Pakistan

Bilal Zaka, private photo

I am an experienced IT professional, academic manager and researcher, presently Head of IT Services at one of the leading University in Pakistan i.e. – COMSATS University Islamabad. I am also collaborating with Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science Technical University Graz Austria, and working on academic and industry projects related to digital content processing and publishing. I am leading a technical team for Austria Forum and developing next generation digital library systems.

I am providing consultancy services to Higher Education Commission of Pakistan as a permanent member of Technical committee. Besides IT and telecom consultancy, software development and research I also had the opportunity to work on network design, implementation and security auditing projects at various levels. I possess a rich combination of technical, research and management experience with an outstanding record of establishing new projects. I see myself as an innovative, dedicated and results-oriented achiever with good interpersonal and organizational skills. I did my PhD in Informatics from the Graz University of Technology - Austria, and my first professional degree is from Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad Pakistan with majors in Electronics. My professional career spans over 19 years and my work is acknowledged and appreciated at national and international levels.

I was appointed as head of NID Development Team in 2017 by Professor Maurer, Graz

Academic Qualification#

  • Ph.D. in Informatics/Computer Science, Dec. 2005 - March 2009
Graz University of Technology, Austria (Issued on 05-03-2009) Majors: Information retrieval, Data mining, Similarity detection, Multimodal information systems
  • Master of Sciences (M.Sc.) Electronics, Jan. 1997 – Jan. 1999
Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan Majors: Digital Logic Design, Network Analysis, Computer Architecture, Computer Programming, Software Engineering, Electronics, Communication, Laser and Fiber Optics, etc.
  • Bachelor of Sciences (B.Sc.), May 1994 – May 1996
University of Punjab Lahore, Pakistan Majors: Mathematics, Statistics, Physics
  • Diploma Certificate in Computers, July 1996 – June 1997
Petroman Training Institute, Islamabad, Pakistan Majors: Digital Electronics, Assembly Language, Interfacing with computers, computer System architecture and organization etc.


  • Technical Team Lead, Austria Forum Project; at ISDS Technical University Graz Austria
  • Asi@Connect project proposal evaluator for Trans Eurasia Information Network Korea, 2018
  • Ernst Mach Grant (EZA) Austria, 2017
  • Member Higher Education Commission Gov. of Pakistan, Technical committee 2009-To date
  • 12th TERADATA National IT excellence Award 18 May, 2014: for Excellence in IT Enabled Services (period Jan. 2012 - Dec. 2013)
  • HEC Merit Scholarship for PhD studies in Austria, 2005-2009

Summary of Skills#

  • Rich experience of IT and telecom project planning, development and execution. Launched IT enabled education platform (CIIT Virtual Campus). Played an active role in strengthening of PERN (Pakistan Education and Research Networks). Contributed significantly in IT and telecom related initiative at national level through Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.
  • Stipulation of technical regulations and policies. Honorary member of various policy making and technical working committees at Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.
  • Rich experience of use of technology in pedagogy, architected complex system for student information management, learning management, and campus management.
  • Remained attached with academic institutes all through professional career. Taught courses related to Computer Networks, Programming, Web and internet applications etc.
  • HEC (Higher Education Commission) Pakistan approved PhD supervisor in the field of computer science. External Evaluator; Ignite/National ICT R&D Fund of Pakistan.
  • Research and Development experience of large scale and semantic-aware knowledge management, information retrieval systems. Working knowledge and development experience of search and indexing platforms, CBIR tools. GIS applications and use of mapping APIs.
  • Internet/Intranet programming, Web services, SOA, working experience of C, Java, PHP, Perl, Java scripts, ASP, ODBC/JDBC/LDAP connectivity, BASH Shell scripting, working knowledge of all major web servers and hosting issues, used all major IDEs and Data Base management systems. Hands on expertise of modern development operations, CI/CD, Docker image building, containerization and deployment of service stacks.
  • LAN/WAN management (all wired and wireless media types) experienced in setting up Windows and Linux/UNIX based networks, which includes, Domain management, installation and management of WWW server, POP & SMTP based Mail server, FTP server, RAS, Firewalls, NATs and Proxy servers. Setup and configuration of Cisco routers, Catalyst switches, Remote Access Server platform, VoIP gateways, DVB/IP based satellite links.
  • Used major penetration testing and vulnerability analysis tools such as Kali Linux, Nessus/OpenVAS, Nexpose etc. Good knowledge of secure development practices based on OWASP guidelines.

Experience: #

Over 20 Years of experience in Information Technology development, management and resaerch.
  • Austria Forum: (June 2018- To date):
Leading a team of software developers and collaborating with researchers at ISDS TU Graz in area of quality control knowledge repositories and digital library systems. I am also providing consultancy and development services to local software companies in Graz Austria. Leader of NID development.
  • COMSATS University Islamabad: (Aug 2001- To date) <Full Time>
Working at present in COMSATS University Islamabad as Head of Information Technology Service. My Job responsibilities include strategic management of IT matters at the institute, Development and operational management of CUOnline (a uniform MIS providing online automation of all academic/administrative process at 8 campuses of CUI, and a number of other large public private sector universities of country. Projects initiated/completed by me at CUI includes

1. Establishment of CUI Virtual Campus, the setup includes a state of the art learning management system with live audio visual collaboration platform. The facility also includes purpose built lecture capturing facility that allows production of quality courseware.

2. Establishment of a 300+ node LAN spread over more than 370 Kanal area, comprising of UTP, STP, fiber, and Wireless 802.11b/g/n/ac based links supporting data rates up to 1Gbps.

3. Setup of internet connectivity at Abbottabad and Virtual Campus Islamabad which includes DXX cross connect (STM1), DVB based satellite data links through Asiasat/Arabsat/SingTel. DRS and single mode fiber connectivity to PERN 1 and 2

4. Established the ISP node (http://ciit.net.pk) at Abbottabad (2002-2005) with user management and accounting/billing software. Created transparent cascaded proxy meshing for effective bandwidth management offering services to LAN and WAN users

5. Setup and execution of Network Research LAB with routing switching equipment and multi platform environment to test benchmark network applications, services and hardware.

6. Develop VoIP gateway supporting PSTN connectivity for CIIT campuses in different cities which will enable us to connect our local exchanges via our internet backbone, using open source software with dialogic, voicetronix, Quicknet hardware. Implemented online help desk and IVR information system for ISP.

7. Deployed and customized a number of open source information management tools for information support services.

8. Network/Security Audit of National Testing Center, Dushanbe Tajikistan, UEE/READ initiative. (A world Bank consultancy assignment/project). eletel Inc. (Nov 1999 – Aug 2001) <Full Time> Worked in eletel Inc. as Software Consultant. My job assignments include management/monitoring of eletel's messaging gateway servers and development of different web based applications for them, that includes web Telephony products, web site development for their different products, web interface development for their Fax Voice Telephony messaging system Callex and also developed a web based front end for their IP to PSTN line voice messaging service (PC to Phone). eletel being a US based company don't have its own office setup in PK so I work at different reputed local establishments (Anjum Asim Shahid & Co. and Secure Software Transactions) doing job for eletel.

9. Quaid-i-Azam University. (Aug 2000 - Feb 2001) <Part Time> Worked as visiting Faculty in the Department of Electronics of QAU (http:/www.qau.edu.pk), and taught LAB courses of M.Sc. Electronics, Final semester which involves computer interfacing, Data communication, general computer networks. I supervised final semester network/data-communication projects of department students.

10. Hamdard University. (July 1999-Dec 1999) <Full Time> Worked in Hamdard University as Lecturer/System Admin, teaching course of Computer Networks, Digital Logic Design and electronics to MCS classes, my job assignment also includes Network Administration and I setup computer lab for the university's Faisalabad campus and configured web, proxy, mail, ftp servers. I also developed University's Web page, message board, web based mail server interface.

11. COMSATS Institute Islamabad. (June 1999-April 2001) <Part Time> Worked as visiting Faculty member in COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Islamabad (http:/ciit.edu.pk) teaching different courses (Data communication & Networking, Internet programming, Operating Systems etc.)

12. Systems Research Pvt. Ltd. (Jan 1999-July 1999) <Full Time> Worked in Systems Research Pvt. Ltd. as System Administrator in Network Department and Faculty member in Systems Research Institute. My job assignments at SysRes includes Management of 300+ PC hybrid LAN setup, installation and configuration of proxy, Web and mail servers. Management and installation of remote access servers (RAS) for 60 line corporate Internet services, Hosting of different Web sites of Systems Research's US based Clients, also worked with multimedia department of Systems Research on different Web based applications projects. I was part of network research group working and development of SNMP agents to monitor network traffic.

I also taught courses of Internet/Intranet Applications and Web development in SRI.

List of publications (Dec.2019)#

Refereed Publications:#

  • Zaka, B., Maurer, H., and Delilovic, N. (2020). Investigating Interaction Activities in Digital Libraries: The Networked Interactive Digital Books Project. IPSI BgD Transactions on Internet Research Jouranl, Volume 16 (1) ISSN 1820 - 4503, January 2020.
  • Maurer, H., Delilovic, N. & Zaka, B. (2019). Libraries of Interactive Books as Powerful Tool for Information Communication. In J. Theo Bastiaens (Ed.), Proceedings of EdMedia + Innovate Learning (pp. 1353-1359). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved August 14, 2019 from https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/210270/
  • Ellahi, A., Zaka, B., & Sultan, F. (2017). A Study of Supplementing Conventional Business Education with Digital Games. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, Vol. 20 (3), 195–206. ISSN 1436-4522 (online) and 1176-3647 (print)
  • Ellahi, A., Sultan, F., Zaka B. (2016) Digital Game Based Learning in Business Management Education: A Step from Entertainment to Digital Literacy. European Journal of Business and Management Vol.8, No.22 2016 ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online)
  • Ellahi A. & Zaka B., (2015). Analysis of Higher Education Policy Frameworks for Open and Distance Education in Pakistan. Sage Publications Inc. Evaluation Review, April 2015 Vol. 39(2) 255-277 DOI:10.1177/0193841X15570046 erx.sagepub.com
  • Qureshi, M. F, Shah S. M. A & Zaka, B. (2014). Towards providing better Distance Education: A roadmap for universities, Journal of Strategy and Performance Management, Volume 2, Issue 2, pages 67-78, ISSN 2308-7730.
  • Nawaz, M., Hussain F., & Zaka B., (2013). Review of E-Learning Methodologies in Pakistan. World Applied Sciences Journal 28 (4): 425-439, 2013 ISSN 1818-4952 DOI: 10.5829/idosi.wasj.2013.28.04.1788
  • Nawaz, M., Hussain F., & Zaka B., (2013). Quality Assurance in E-Learning: Study of E-Learning Practices in Pakistan. World Applied Sciences Journal 28 (2): 236-249, 2013 ISSN 1818-4952 DOI: 10.5829/idosi.wasj.2013.28.02.1790
  • Kappe, F., Zaka, B., & Steurer, M. E. (2009). Automatically Detecting Points of Interest and Social Networks from Positions of Avatars in a Virtual World. International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, IEEE DOI: 10.1109/ASONAM.2009.66
  • Kulathuramaiyer, N., & Zaka, B. (2009). Integrated Multimodal Copy-Paste Checking. Journal of Software (JSW), Vol. 4, No. 6, August 2009, ISSN 1796-217X
  • Zaka, B., Steurer, M. E., & Kappe, F. (2009). Framework for Extending Plagiarism Detection in Virtual Worlds. In proceedings of Third International Conference on Research Challenges in Information Science, IEEE DOI: 10.1109/RCIS.2009.5089268
  • Zaka, B. (2009). Empowering plagiarism detection with a web services enabled collaborative network. Journal of Information Science and Engineering, Vol. 25, No. 5, September 2009, ISSN: 1016-2364
  • Zaka, B., Safran, C., & Kappe, F. (2009). Use of similarity detection techniques for adaptive news content delivery and user profiling. Book Chapter: Advances in Semantic Media Adaptation and Personalization, Volume 2, CRC press, ISBN: 978-1-4200-7664-6, http://www.crcnetbase.com/doi/abs/10.1201/9781420076653-c11
  • Zaka, B., & Safran, C. (2008). Emerging Web Based Learning Systems and Scalability Issues. In proceedings of International Conference on Information Technology in Education, CSSE Dec. 2008 Wuhan China, Pp.889-892, DOI: 10.1109/CSSE.2008.187
  • Safran, C., & Zaka, B. (2008). A Geospatial Wiki for m-Learning. In proceedings of International Conference on Information Technology in Education, CSSE Dec. 2008 Wuhan China, Pp.109-112, DOI: 10.1109/CSSE.2008.188
  • Zaka, B., Kulathuramaiyer, N., Balke, T., & Maurer, H. (2008). Topic-Centered Aggregation of Presentations for Learning Object Repurposing. Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education, Nov. 2008 Nevada USA, Published by AACE, Pp. 3335-3342, Online: https://www.learntechlib.org/p/30141/
  • Kulathuramaiyer, N., Zaka, B., & Helic, D. (2008). Integrated Copy-Paste Checking: Design and Services. In proceedings of Eighth IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, ICALT July 2008. Pp.519-523, DOI: 10.1109/ICALT.2008.312
  • Zaka, B., Safran, C., & Kappe, F. (2007). Personalized Interactive Newscast (PINC): Towards a Multimodal Interface for Personalized News. In proceedings of Second International Workshop on Semantic Media Adaptation and Personalization, SMAP 2007 London UK, Pp. 56-61, ISBN: 0-7695-3040-0, IEEE DOI: 10.1109/SMAP.2007.36
  • Zaka, B., & Maurer, H. (2007). Service Oriented Information Supply Model for Knowledge Workers. In proceedings of 7th International Conference on Knowledge Management, i-KNOW Sep. 2007 Graz Austria, Pp. 432-439.
  • Maurer, H., & Zaka, B. (2007). Plagiarism – a problem and how to fight it. Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications, EdMedia 2007 Vancouver Canada, Published by AACE, 4451-4458, https://www.learntechlib.org/p/26021/
  • Maurer, H., Kappe, F., & Zaka, B. (2006). Plagiarism- a Survey. Journal of Universal Computer Science, Volume 12, Issue 8, Pp. 1050-1084, ISSN 0948-695x, DOI: 10.3217/jucs-012-08-1050
  • Zaka, B., Safran, C., & Kappe, F. (2006). A blended learning approach in the news domain. Proceedings Book: Current Developments in Technology-Assisted Education, Published by FORMATEX, Badajoz, Spain Pp. 1027-1031, ISBN 84-690-2472-8

Non refereed publications#

  • NID Unser Manual (2019)
  • NID Administration Manual (2019)
  • NID Specifications (2018)
  • General User/Maurer Hermann/NID-Servers/General_Explanation_of_Ideas_(Englisch_Version): Jan. 2020
  • Digital transformation with a careful approach towards data localization: Pubished in leading national newspapers; April 2020
  • Establishment of COMSATS Internet and Data Center: A move towards comprehensive G-Cloud. Type: Project proposal For COMSATS Headquarters / Ministry of Science and Technology Pakistan; March 2020
  • Center for AI Development: (Promoting AI adoption for positive economic and social impacts); Research Note 2019
  • Information and Communication Technologies led reforms in agriculture sector of Pakistan; Research report for MoS; 2019
  • Tapping in the potentials of knowledge economy: Revamping IT and Business Processes Outsourcing industry¸ A information paper for consumption of concerned ministries of Govt. of Pakistan; July 2019
  • DIGISKILLs Training Project (DSTP): Approach, Technology, Methodology & Work Plan; Technical Proposal; Dec. 2020
  • Scheme, regulatory framework, progress and Future plans of CIIT Virtual Campus. Report for Director CIIT Virtual Campus; 2015
  • Quality Assurance Manual for distance education program: COMSATS Institute of Information Technology Quality Assurance Manual; August 2014
  • Technical Guideline for COMSATS Virtual Campus, COMSATS Virtual Campus; July, 2012

Ehrenamtliche Mitarbeit am Austria-Forum als Mitglied des Editorial Boards#

  • Suggestions and Implementations for Austria-Forum
  • Member of the Geography Consortium
  • Was appointed head of NID development 2017 by H. Maurer
  • Information on applications of NID in English