SIAM News Blog

IQ Fest and Modern Engineering Applications of Mathematics with the COMSATS University Islamabad SIAM Student Chapter

By Fatima Sehar and Bareerah Suhail

An intelligence quotient (IQ) assesses human intelligence by measuring a person’s reasoning ability. According to psychologists who study intelligence, IQ tests can predict how well individuals will perform in specific situations, such as those that involve abstract thinking in fields like science, engineering, or art. 

To celebrate the International Day of Mathematics on March 14, the COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI) SIAM Student Chapter arranged an intellectual questioning test called “IQ Fest.” More than 70 students from different departments at CUI took part in this competition. 

IQ Fest consisted of three rounds. The first session began at 9 a.m. and allotted participants 50 minutes to answer 30 IQ-based questions. The top 15 students advanced to the second round, which started at 10:45 a.m. and gave them 20 minutes to attempt 15 questions.

The day’s last and most anticipated component began at 3 p.m. Hina Tariq (a human resources officer for the CUI SIAM Student Chapter) kickstarted the festivities with an introduction to International Mathematics Day and a discussion of its importance in the promotion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). She then invited Sania Ejaz (current president of the CUI Student Chapter) onstage for the recitation of the Holy Quran. 

The event consisted of two parts: the final round of IQ Fest and two informative presentations. Muhammad Fasih Uddin Butt (an associate professor in CUI’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) delivered the first talk and spoke about modern engineering applications of mathematics. Fasih began by explaining the origins of his interest in mathematics. He mentioned his current and previous research in engineering and the use of math therein, addressing topics such as channel coding, cooperative cognitive radio networks, and his latest work on physical layer security. 

Fasih’s presentation was filled with interactive graphics and visuals that kept listeners engaged in the discussion. He also explained the basis of communication systems and described how this simple concept comprises the backbone of machine learning. Fasih talked about the STEM community’s positive response towards his projects and emphasized the importance of exploring new skills to find your passions. Students found his speech very relatable, especially since he explained basic mathematical concepts (like the Fourier transform) and specified their applications in the modern world. After his talk, Fasih and the instructors from CUI’s Department of Mathematics engaged in a healthy debate that concluded with the prospect of collaborations between the engineering and mathematics departments.

Next, the seven qualifiers for the last round of IQ Fest took the stage. This final round commenced in front of an open audience; questions appeared on screen and whoever raised their hand first was given a chance to answer. The whole event was exhilarating and enjoyable for participating students, who experienced waves of both excitement and nervousness. The point of IQ Fest was to engage students in an intellectual and fun activity that could also yield a productive outcome. 

After the final round of IQ Fest, Sajid Qamar (dean of the Faculty of Science at CUI) delivered the second educative talk. Qamar’s bright personality and entertaining stories kept the students interested. He discussed new concepts like classical and quantum cryptography and explained their applications. Lastly, the organizers of IQ Fest invited Abdullah Shah (an associate professor at CUI and faculty advisor of the CUI SIAM Student Chapter) onstage because his coordination and encouragement was the primary driving force behind the successful occasion. He praised the students for their hard work, encouraged them to participate in extracurricular activities, and thanked SIAM leadership, whose cooperation and enthusiasm about the newly inaugurated CUI Student Chapter has been inspiring. 

The awards ceremony—which included the distribution of shields and prize money among the winners—followed Shah’s remarks and concluded the first official event of the CUI SIAM Student Chapter. The chapter wishes to organize similar events in the future and collaborate with various national and international universities.

Photos courtesy of Kamran Ashiq and Esha Ghazali.

Fatima Sehar and Bareerah Suhail are B.S. students of mathematics at COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI). Sehar is the content team head for the CUI SIAM Student Chapter and Suhail serves the Chapter as a member of the content team.

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