PhD Spotlight: Aiman Gannous
Aiman Gannous joined the Ritchie School of Engineering & Computer Science for his PhD in the Department of Computer Science (CS) in the Spring of 2014. Gannous successfully defended his dissertation this August and is serving as an adjunct faculty member in Fall 2020.
Working primarily with Professor Anneliese Andrews, PhD, Gannous’s dissertation was about the intersection between testing and safety certification of safety critical systems. He studied the role of testing as a software engineering process in providing sufficient evidence for the purpose of certifying safety-critical systems. Following a post peer-review writing approach, Gannous began writing his dissertation after already publishing four papers as contribution in the field. Thankfully his dissertation and research were not negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and he was still able to regularly meet with Andrews.
Being at the Ritchie School, Gannous was able to utilize the resources [tools and computer equipment] available and work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA). By working as a GTA he was able to receive financial assistance and gain experience teaching and managing classes. He stated that, “the administration of the Ritchie School showed a tremendous dedication to improving the quality of research and engagement.”
Some of the classes that stood out for him were Database Management Systems and Software Testing. These courses allowed him to gain not only knowledge and rich content, but also insight into teaching methods and skills. Gannous said that Professor Scott Leutenegger, PhD, and Andrews “showed a very professional, cozy teaching methods and inclusive environment to all students.”
While working on his dissertation Gannous said that one of the most challenging aspects was writing the introduction and background chapters in a formal and concise way. The process of meeting the deadlines was stressful at times, so he advised that other graduate students should prepare their defense ahead of time. Graduate students should create and practice managing time for presentations with advisors and their peers at least a week before the final defense.
When reflecting on his time at the Ritchie School and the CS staff, Gannous said, “With her guidance, patience and the tremendous outstanding level of experience of Professor Andrews, my research process went smooth and followed the plan and the timeline that designed by her. Also, I cannot forget the CS staff, Susan Bolton, Meredith Corley, Andrei Roudik and Dante Garcia for their support, providing the tools and creating a friendly environment that really helped me through my research at the CS department.”
Throughout his PhD journey over the last six years Gannous was able to create many good memories. He said that his time at the Ritchie School was a rich and wonderful experience that impacted his life while promoting and encouraging diversity and an inclusive environment. Gannous will continue researching in the same field with the supervision of Andrews and working to enrich his contributions. He will be teaching computer science class this fall at the Ritchie School and will resume teaching and researching back at the University of Benghazi, Libya next year as an assistant professor.