NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF COMPUTER AND EMERGING SCIENCES (FAST-NU)

S.M. ABBAS ZAIDI,
Research Analyst
, PAGE
May 18 - 24, 2009

Founded as federally chartered university, the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences also known as FAST is a premiere university of Pakistan. It is renowned for quality and impact of its students in the development of local software and other industries. The university has four modern campuses at Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar. These campuses provide world class educational environment and recreational facilities to over 4,000 under-graduate and graduate students.

FAST pioneered the development of IT industry in Pakistan by offering the country's first undergraduate program in Computer Science. Research wings of the university are well recognized, nationally and internationally. With cutting edge research, they have direct impact on social, economic and technological needs of Pakistan. Today, this university stands recognized as the leader and trend-setter in IT field in Pakistan and abroad.

ISLAMABAD CAMPUS

SCHEDULE OF FEES STRUCTURE FOR STUDENTS
. BBA / BS / MBA MS / PhD
Admission Fee Rs. 15,000 Rs. 15,000
Students' Club Fee (per semester) Rs 1,500 Rs 1,500
Tuition Fee (2009-10) (per semester) Rs 65,000 Rs 51,000
Source: FAST-NU

The Islamabad Campus is a newly built campus covering 15 acres of land. The campus includes five computer laboratories (1. Graduate lab, 2. Research lab, 3. Final Year Project lab, 4. Common lab-I, 5. Common lab-II) all equipped with Intel Core 2 and Pentium 4 computers, a number of telecom laboratories, a library and a cafetaria. Various sports facilities are also available on this campus. Recently the Government of Pakistan has also allotted another 40 acres of land. The university intends to build a new state-of-the-art facility at this location.

KARACHI CAMPUS

The Karachi Campus is further divided into two campuses: The Main Campus and the City Campus. The Karachi Main campus is spread over a 6 acre site. The staff and students commute to the campus in transport arranged by the University.

LAHORE CAMPUS

The Lahore campus is located around a spacious and elegant location, which is spread over 12.5 acres of land. The main building of the campus, with its striking exterior brick work and magnificent marble domes, is a valuable addition to the rich architectural heritage of Lahore. A separate building houses a spacious library, cafeteria and separate common rooms for boys and girls. Another three storey building is completed.

PESHAWAR CAMPUS

The Peshawar Campus is located in Industrial Estate, not very far from the historic Khyber Pass. It is situated on 4 acre plot. The Campus has adequate library and computer laboratory facilities.

RESEARCH CENTERS

Centre for Research in Ubiquitous Computing (CRUC)

Center for Research in Ubiquitous Computing (CRUC) was formed in March 2006. Ubiquitous Computing (computing everywhere for everyone) promotes the idea of integrating computation into the environment, rather than having computers in daily life. The idea enables people and machines to move around and interact with information and computing in informal way, to sense changes in their environment and to automatically adapt and act based on these changes. At CRUC the research focuses on several topics such as Pattern Recognition & Multi-Lingual Interfaces, MultiAgent Systems, Wireless Networks & Grid Computing, Human Computer Interaction, Knowledge Engineering & Information Retrieval, Robotics & Sensor based Communication and Augmented & Virtual Reality.

CENTRE FOR AGRO-INFORMATICS RESEARCH

It is a research center dedicated to development of indigenous IT solutions to serve the agriculture sector. Currently a 26 month long Rs. 30+ millions Agricultural Decision Support System (ADDS) project is underway with a 30+ team members. The ADDS project aims at developing an Agriculture Data Warehouse, a web based OLAP tool, fast data mining tool and a yield loss forecasting system.

CENTRE FOR RESEARCH IN URDU LANGUAGE PROCESSING (CRULP)

This research centre was formed in 2001 with a vision to develop computing in local languages of Pakistan. CRULP conducts research into languages spoken in Pakistan, developing computing standards and also developing speech, script and language processing applications for the end-users. Now the scope of research has increased to other Asian languages as well. CRULP has a Speech Processing Lab, Script Processing Lab and Language Processing Lab. Facilities also include R&D centre to seat 40 full-time research staff working on funded research. CRULP participates in national and international bodies, including PTCL R&D Fund, Urdu Computing Standardization Committee of National Language Authority, Editorial Board of Localization Focus published by Localization Research Centre at University of Limerick in Ireland, and Unicode's Bidirectional Committee List.

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING RESEARCH CENTRE (SERC)

Software Research Engineering Centre is dedicated to conducting research and development in software engineering. The centre has been established to promote theoretical research in the software engineering area, resolve problems faced by the software industry, and help establish software engineering practices in the industry. Through the establishment of the SERC, the university seeks to help and support the local software industry in establishing and improving their processes and practices through continuous feedback and training.

LACK OF IT PROFESSIONALS IN PAKISTAN

Presently, Pakistan is producing more than 2500-3000 quality I.T. professionals every year, which are not sufficient and because of the shortage we are not able to achieve the kind of software export volumes that we need to. In comparison, India is producing some 110,000 IT professionals annually and that too for the last 15 years. It has a critical mass available of 1.5 mn IT professionals to enable it to export $4 bn of software through official channels and another $4 billion through unofficial channels.

CONCLUSION

FAST is ranked amongst the top IT institutes in Pakistan and is producing the highly qualified IT professional in the country. In order to compete internationally, the government must help IT institutes to produce more IT professionals for brightening Pakistan's IT industry presence in international arena.