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Outstanding Graduate Student Making a Difference with Research

Nahiyan Bin Noor
Nahiyan Bin Noor

Graduate student Nahiyan Bin Noor has an analytical mind, and he is always exploring ways that he can use his skills to solve problems.

In 2017, Noor’s father was diagnosed with anemia, a condition that develops when a person’s blood produces a lower-than-normal amount of healthy red blood cells.

An electrical and electronic engineering major at Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology in Bangladesh at the time, Noor created a machine learning approach to detect iron-deficiency disease known as anemia through eye images for his undergraduate thesis. Since information science was not his field, he sought a graduate education to improve his skills.

“I didn’t have enough knowledge about data collection and data processing at the time, and I was not satisfied with the final project,” Noor said. “I knew there was a lot of scope for improvement at the time. I thought if I could pursue my master’s degree in this field that I could learn more and apply that knowledge in my current work.”

Noor’s sense of adventure and desire to improve his knowledge led him to UA Little Rock in 2021, where he will graduate this semester with a master’s degree in information science and a graduate certificate in data science.

“I am delighted that I have recently completed my master’s in information science from UA Little Rock, and I must say that the last two years have been nothing short of an incredible journey for me,” he said. “At first, the idea of traveling thousands of miles away from my hometown in Bangladesh and starting a new life seemed daunting, but with time, I adapted and embraced this new chapter of my life with enthusiasm.”

He collected 104 eye images from patients with their blood hemoglobin level during his undergraduate study. His machine learning algorithm could predict anemia with 84 percent accuracy and hemoglobin levels with 89 percent accuracy. Noor published two papers based on this project.

He continued his research on anemia detection with Dr. Kamran Iqbal in the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology at UA Little Rock. He collected 421 eye images and extended that work, and has submitted his paper, “A systemic Approach to Predict Anemia from Eye Conjunctiva Images” for publication.

This is just one of many transformational research projects Noor has undertaken during his time at UA Little Rock. He is a member of the Collaboratorium for Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS) Research Center, where he analyzes toxicity on social media as well as how toxicity on social media affects human behavior.

“I am immensely grateful to my friends, colleagues from the COSMOS Research Center, and my supervisor, the esteemed Dr. Nitin Agarwal, for their unwavering support throughout my academic journey,” he said. “Despite the challenges and pressures that came with completing my thesis within a short timeframe, Dr. Agarwal’s guidance and mentorship were invaluable, and I could not have done it without him. I also want to extend my sincere appreciation to Dr. Thomas Marcoux, who was instrumental in helping me from the start, from the initial interviews to the onboarding process at COSMOS.”

This spring, Noor had the chance to present one of his COSMOS research projects, “Comparing Toxicity Across Social Media Platforms for COVID 19 Discourse,” at the Ninth International Conference on Human and Social Analytics (HUSO 2023) in Barcelona, Spain. The trip was funded with travel grants from COSMOS, UA Little Rock Graduate School, and the Donaghey College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

“Presenting at a conference gives you a stage where you can share your work with others,” Bin Noor said. “You can learn about other cultures and meet new mentors and researchers. This really gives you an opportunity to meet other experts in the field, learn about their experiences, and get feedback on your research.”

For his hard work and innovative research, Noor received the Outstanding Master’s Student Award from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2022 as well as the Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the Department of Information Science this spring.

Now that he’s graduated, Noor is fielding offers to work as a data scientist or data analyst. Though he hasn’t made a final job decision yet, he is grateful to UA Little Rock, his professors, and COSMOS for preparing him for his future career.

“Overall, my time at UA Little Rock has been a transformative experience that has enriched my life in countless ways,” Noor said. “I am excited to see where my journey in the field of information science takes me next.”