Dr. Fahmida N. Chowdhury joined the National Science Foundation in February 2008. She is a Program Director in the NSF Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE). She served in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) and ran programs in the SBE Office of Multidisciplinary Activities (SMA). Besides her core program responsibilities, she has served on Foundation-wide Working Groups for Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI), the SEES Fellows program, as well as the multi-directorate (and jointly with the National Institutes of Health) Working Group on Smart and Connected Health (SCH). In her current position, she is responsible for activities involving several Southeast Asian countries.
She was a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA, where she held the W. Hansen Hall and Mary O. Hall Endowed Chair in Computer Engineering. She has also held academic positions at Michigan Technological University, Southern University (Baton Rouge), Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Dhaka, Bangladesh).
Fahmida was born in Bogra, Bangladesh. After receiving her Higher Secondary Certificate (equivalent to High School Graduation in the US) from Holy Cross College, Dhaka, she won a scholarship to study in the Soviet Union in 1974. She received a combined BSc/MSc degree (with High Honors) in electromechanical engineering from Moscow Power Engineering Institute, Moscow, Russia, in 1980. She obtained her PhD in electrical engineering (major: system theory; minor: mathematics), from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1988.
Dr. Chowdhury has served on the editorial boards of two IEEE Transactions: on Control Systems Technology and on Neural Networks, as well as the International Journal of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. She has served as elected member of the IEEE Control System Society’s Board of Governors, and the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society’s AdCOM.
Her research interests include complex systems modeling and analysis, non-traditional applications of dynamic systems theory, and detection of abnormal conditions (faults) in dynamic systems. She is interested in robust system design via active detection and adaptation, as opposed to simple redundancy or other passive techniques, because passive robustness frequently results in reduced optimality.
In addition to her technical interests and contributions, she has worked throughout her career for the cause of broadening participation of under-represented groups in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. She was a Fulbright Fellow in 2001, and served as a visiting scholar at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), where she taught a graduate course in Artificial Neural Networks. She was a Visiting Professor at the Helsinki University of Technology, Finland, in 2004, where she taught a graduate-level intensive course on Artificial Neural Networks. She was awarded an Embassy Science Fellowship by the US Department of State in 2013, and served at the US Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has deep interest in international science and technology collaborations, particularly with the developing world.