From developing quantum-inspired software to the classroom: Get to know Maryam Tanha

Dr. Maryam Tanha’s research and work projects read like news headlines: critical infrastructure security, intelligent transportation systems, android malware detection. Information and communication technologies (ICT) affect almost every aspect of our lives,” says Maryam.

“We’re interacting with other people using social networks or email, we use online resources to learn new skills, we use navigation services, receive healthcare, and so on,” she explains. “Moreover, many critical infrastructures, like electrical grids and mass transit systems, rely on the correct function of their underlying ICT.”

Maryam’s own journey took her from Iran to Malaysia, where she completed her Masters degree, and then to the University of Victoria for her Doctorate in Computer Science (she defended her PhD while seven months pregnant!). Her industry experience includes developing a range of banking, video streaming, and mobile applications in the Middle East and South East Asia.

“All over the world, we’re relying on skilled graduates to fulfill the demands of the growing and evolving tech sector.”

“I love being part of the effort to enhance the security of systems that rely on ICT and are so integral to our everyday lives.” – Dr. Maryam Tanha, BCIT Computing Faculty

Driven to learn, inspired to teach

In 2020 she decided to take her breadth of interest into the BCIT classroom, helping to develop this critical supply of graduates. “The rapid advancements in various areas of computer science underscore the need for instructional faculty to keep up to date, and I have always enjoyed learning new things,” Maryam explains.

Teaching into the Computer Systems Technology (CST) program, she’s able to use her technical talents, but also use and hone skills like classroom management, project supervision, and problem solving. Outside the class, she enjoys collaborating with other faculty and working groups to develop and update curriculum.

She’s also busy inspiring the next generation of technology professionals, volunteering as a mentor with BCIT’s  Technovation GirlsBC outreach, and other activities to increase the number of women in technology. “Such programs encourage girls to get involved in STEM by showing them the exciting side of engineering and computer science, and helping them to work on interesting projects,” she explains.

Maryam knows that women may have previously felt disinclined to study computing, for a variety of reasons. But she emphasizes that there are many job opportunities for female graduates in tech, as the sector seeks a more diverse and representative workforce.

From positive student feedback to keeping up-to-date with technologies, Maryam feels teaching is a very rewarding experience. “It gives me a great sense of fulfilment, and I am grateful that I have been part of my students’ journey.”

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Seeking the frontiers of tech

During her PhD program, Maryam spent six months as a software company intern where she carried out applied research and implemented a software prototype using quantum-inspired methods.

She continues to conduct applied research on computer networks and cyber security, and currently has a research grant for her work: An OpenSource and onDevice Android Malware Detection Framework. Her work aims to protect the smartphones we all reply on for activities ranging from banking to socializing.

“The widespread use of Android apps has made them a primary target for malicious cyber-attacks,” says Maryam. “Android malware detection and analysis is one of the hot research areas in mobile security.” Attacks can include unwelcome tracking, stealing of sensitive information, blackmailing, and other unauthorized use.

“I love being part of the effort to enhance the security of systems that rely on ICT and are so integral to our everyday lives.”

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1 thought on “From developing quantum-inspired software to the classroom: Get to know Maryam Tanha”

  1. Wow, what an impressive career in so much different part of the world. So nice that you decided to land in Vancouver/BCIT as well!


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