Interviews and Reviews

Ahmad Bazzi On Algorithms and Optimization Community – An Exclusive Interview

I am joined by Dr. Ahmad Bazzi, of YouTube fame. Ahmad is a full-time researcher at New York University, Abu Dhabi, and a YouTube content creator publishing regular algorithmic and mathematical tutorials on YouTube. In this interview, we talk to Ahmad about his YouTube channel and his research at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Q1) Welcome, Ahmad. Very happy to have you here. I see you’re a researcher at New York University, Abu Dhabi, where your research involves 6G technologies. First, how’d you get into optimization, wireless communications, and algorithms?

 Ahmad Bazzi:

Thanks for having me.

I started learning about algorithms pretty early in my life.

First, I got introduced to algorithms while reading about topics in computer science, I found algorithms like Lee Algorithm and Huffman coding pretty fascinating.

Then, I found that algorithms are not limited to computer science but also span a wide range of areas, including wireless communications.

What was more fascinating was when I saw how algorithms can “make sense” of wireless signals to decode information or to sense information regarding users.

Q2) Neat! Most of our audience may recognize that you have a very popular YouTube channel. Funny, but you rarely show your face; it was just in one video but even there, we never saw you talking on video. I must say I’m a fan of your CUDA programming videos. May I ask why aren’t you recording audio/video tutorials, keeping in mind that showing your face while explaining gets more audience retention? But you still manage to reach high popularity. 

Ahmad Bazzi:

Thank you. I’m honored to have my channel featured in this article.

Well, I know that video recording myself while explaining will get more traction. However, I have decided to start without video recording as I was on a budget. Then, the channel has adopted the flow it is actually on. Having said that, I preserve the same methodology for consistency.

But maybe it’s also that I’m an introvert type of person and I’m really just up to the point. I’m glad many of the subscribers are happy with the content as is, and I know a decent amount of viewers have been asking for the same thing. I also don’t need to brush my messy hair while recording, haha.

Q3) That was a nice one. Talking about being an introvert, I see you get pretty enthusiastic while explaining. I personally see the energy in your voice and visuals when recording. How have you found YouTube as a learning platform and what advice can you share for upcoming YouTubers that are educators or researchers? 

Ahmad Bazzi:

Yeah, so many people think you need a fancy studio for recording or some “over-the-top” type of equipment to get to recording and editing. All you need is to hit the spacebar and record. Imagine yourself teaching students or giving private tutoring lessons, which is what I used to do for a living before I moved to France from Beirut, Lebanon. Btw, I currently reside in Abu Dhabi. But in any case, you start with what you have. If you check my first video, it was extremely awful, I mean, the audio is very noisy. The video was unedited. I still managed to hit almost 100K views on that one. You start with what you have, then you upgrade slowly to better equipment. YouTube can be generous if you are as well. Regarding content, make content that you would watch over and over again and that you would immediately find value in.

Take a comedian, for example, a comedian wouldn’t release videos if (s)he wouldn’t find them funny, right?

But going back to science and education, your courses must be appreciated by you, firstly.

Q4) I see it’s been about 5-6 months since you released a video. People are worried about you as your community tab posts show. What’s the deal? What’s next for your YouTube channel? 

Ahmad Bazzi:

At the moment, I decided to step back and take a deep breath. We’re humans, not machines, and I operate with no team.

Q5) Wait. No team? How come?

Ahmad Bazzi:

Yes. No team.

I have plans to expand and hire people to edit my videos. 
My future videos should focus on wireless communications, as all my videos so far establish some sort of algorithmic and mathematical ground that I feel is a good starting point for people that want to go into applied topics like wireless or signal processing. For the sake of completeness, I have started recording wireless lectures, following advice by one of my mentors and by my viewers. 

Q6) Impressive. Alright, so work and youtube aside now. My last question for the day would be your hobbies and interests outside work and YouTube. I’ve received this question by many other people as well.

Ahmad Bazzi:

Haha. I do enjoy long walks and jogging, even though I put on some weight recently. Traveling is something me and my wife, Fatima, enjoy quite a whole LOT.

Discovering new cultures and new things brings me some joy.

There you have it.

Ahmad, thank you for joining me this week. You can get in touch with Ahmad via Twitter or his LinkedIn profile.

About Ahmad Bazzi – A Short Biography

Ahmad Bazzi was born in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on the 3rd of October, 1991. He received the M.Sc. degree (Hons.) in wireless communication systems (SAR) from Centrale Supélec in 2014 and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from EURECOM, France, in 2017. He is currently a Research Associate with New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi, contributing to integrated sensing and communications and prior to that, he was the Algorithm and Signal Processing Team Leader of CEVA-DSP, Sophia Antipolis, leading the work on Wi-Fi (802.11ax) and Bluetooth (5.x BR/BLE/BTDM/LR) PHY modems, OFDMA MAC schedulers, and RF-related issues. Since 2018, he has been publishing YouTube lectures, where his channel contains mathematical, algorithmic, and programming topics, with more than 285K+ subscribers and 17M+ views in August 2023. He was awarded the CIFRE Scholarship from ANRT France in 2014. He was nominated for the Best Student Paper Award at IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP) in 2016. He received the Silver Plate Creator Award from YouTube in 2022. He is a co-inventor in several patents involving intellectual property of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth products, all of which have been implemented and sold to key clients. He was awarded exemplary reviewer of IEEE Wireless Communication Letters and IEEE Transactions on Communication in 2022.  His research interests include signal processing, wireless communications, statistics, and optimization.


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