Abubakr Muhammad

Title Data, Systems and Intelligence for the Water Sector

Regions around the world are facing rapid large-scale environmental changes brought about by climate change, demographic transitions, urbanization, and disruptive technologies. In South Asia, the impact of these changes is felt most in the water sector in poor management of irrigation networks, depletion of groundwater, deterioration in water quality, poor sanitation and difficulties in the preservation of ecosystems. Towards taming the hydrological complexity of river basins, the speaker's group has developed and deployed robotics and automation solutions for water management and precision agriculture in the world's largest contiguous irrigation network in Pakistan. These include real-time flow monitoring systems, innovative schemes for demand-based irrigation delivery and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to inspect the siltation of water channels. Recognizing simultaneously the strong coupling of human behavior with the natural systems, the speaker's group has developed game-theoretic socio-ecological models to investigate sustainability and environmentalism. In many instances, the effectiveness of these technologies has been demonstrated in scaling-up solutions to ensure transparency and effective governance


Dr. Abubakr Muhammad is an associate professor and chair of electrical engineering, the founding director of the Center for Water Informatics & Technology (WIT), and the lead for NCRA National Agricultural Robotics Lab at LUMS. He received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2005 from Georgia Institute of Technology, USA winning an institute-wide best Ph.D. Dissertation Award. He received masters degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering from Georgia Tech and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and McGill University. Since 2008, his research group at LUMS is doing applied research in robotics, automation and AI with applications to water, agriculture, and environmental issues. He serves on various advisory panels to government agencies and industry in Pakistan on water, climate and agricultural policy, especially on the use of emerging digital technologies for these sectors