Prof. Mehrdad Ghaziasgar

Position: Associate Professor
Department: Computer Science Programme
Faculty: Faculty of Natural Science
Qualifications: PhD (University of the Western Cape, South Africa)
Tel: 021 959 3012
Fax: 021 959 1274



Prof Ghaziasgar is an Associate Professor in Computer Science at UWC. He is the head and principal researcher of the Assistive Technologies Research Lab (ATRL) within the Center of Excellence at UWC Computer Science. He completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at UWC in a remarkable one-year timeframe, in addition to obtaining his previous degrees with (highest) distinction. His research interests have a distinct focus on the practical applications of machine learning to create novel assistive technology systems. The domains of interest have been diverse, but some prominent ones have included assistive technologies for people with disabilities, gesture interfaces, crime and geoparameter forecasting, and business intelligence.


The ATRL has achieved significant milestones since 2010. It has successfully initiated and completed more than 45 specialized research projects, many of which have resulted in fully-functional prototypes. This research has been well-recognized, attracting more than 7 million South African rands in research funding through the Telkom/Openserve/Aria Technologies centre-of-excellence, as well as approximately 5.9 million South African rands in government research subsidies. Notably, ATRL prototypes, such as iSign and the Visually-Impaired Helper, have received national acclaim and recognition in prestigious technology competitions.


Prof Ghaziasgar has authored or co-authored more than 40 accredited publications, including journal papers, peer-reviewed conference papers, and accredited book chapters. He serves as an expert reviewer for multiple prestigious journals worldwide, including Springer Nature Scientific Reports, Elsevier Pattern Recognition, PLOS One, and others. He also routinely serves as an examiner/reviewer for the South African National Research Foundation and several South African Universities. He has delivered invited talks at various conferences and forums on machine learning.


Prof Ghaziasgar has had the privilege of supervising a large and diverse group of students to completion since 2010. This includes 1 PhD student, 13 MSc students (as the primary supervisor), with 10 of these students graduating with distinction, and 10 graduating within the minimum 2-year period for an MSc, 3 MSc students (as co-supervisor), and more than 50 BSc Honours students, the majority of whom have graduated with distinction. He is currently supervising 2 PhD students and 3 MSc students, all of whom are at various stages of their research.


Prof Ghaziasgar is deeply passionate about simplifying and delivering complex topics to make them accessible to a diverse audience, characteristic of a South African lecture hall. Over a decade and a half in academia, he has developed and delivered a variety of courses including machine learning, database design and implementation, data warehousing, problem solving in Python, problem solving in Java, and Python for scientific computing. He is especially interested in finding innovative ways of bridging the increasingly wide gap between academia and industry, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for the ever-evolving landscape of technology, particularly in the uncharted era of ubiquitous AI. Prof Ghaziasgar pioneered “open-discussion” assessments that promote collaborative learning coupled with, and directly dependent on, an innovative approach to assessments that helps maintain academic integrity. This approach closely mirrors a real-world industry working environment within an academic setting.


Outside of academia, Prof Ghaziasgar takes a deep interest in self-improvement, the pinnacle of which is complete kindness and humility. He and his wife are also loyal subjects to the King and Queen of the house, who were born in 2017 and 2019, respectively. In exchange for 24-hour loyal service, acting as horsie and a human trampoline as and when required, among other services, he and his wife are kindly afforded accommodation and food at the Ghaziasgar residence 😀  C’est la vie!