Asif Zaman

Math whiz dazzles professors

June 10, 2010

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Asif Zaman blushes with embarrassment when he hears that his professors call him “the perfect student.”

But the winner of one of SFU’s two Governor General’s silver medals for undergraduate academic excellence this year can’t escape the label.

Lauded by his professors for his application of mathematics to health-care scheduling problems and his stellar scoring in tough math competitions, Zaman is graduating with a B.Sc. in mathematics and a near-perfect 4.24 cumulative grade point average.

His proposed development of a queue network model for booked elective admissions to hospitals caught the eye of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, earning him a $6,000 undergraduate student research award.

“I studied a hospital waitlist for surgeries and the total effect of rebooking cancelled surgeries,” says Zaman, whose Bangladeshi-born mother Habiba Zaman is an SFU professor in the department of gender, sexuality and women’s studies.

 “As hospital resources are scarce, one needs to allocate them efficiently,” explains the young mathematician in a math-student recruitment video describing his model on YouTube.

“My research aimed to determine the optimal number of beds so as to minimize an individual patient’s wait time. I used a combination of computational simulations and analytical techniques to study the system.”

In both 2008 and 2009, Zaman placed comfortably among the top 350 individual participants in the annual Putnam mathematical competition, which attracts thousands of entrants from North American universities and colleges. He also helped power SFU to a 47th place finish out of 405 in the 2008 team competition.

How good is he with numbers? Well, do the math: The most common individual score in a Putnam competition is at best two out of 120; Zaman scored 40 in 2008 and 30 in 2009.


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sakina rahman

Congratulations Very happy for your success Asif.


Way to go Asif!! Congratulations!

Louise K

Always knew you would go far. Congradulations. Now go for the Gold!

Jaskaran sidhu

Congratulations.......keep it up

olakunle o

I too congratulate you on your success.More grease to your elbow.

Wasiq Azad

Congratulations! What's next?

Masud Karim

Excellent, like father like son. Really proud of you.

Nusrat Sharmin

Congratulations Asif...great work...keep it up...

Aqueel Khan

Wow..this is cool...Congrats Asif.. Dr saheb and Bhabhi must be feeling so proud.. I am sure this is just a beginning

Hugh Jones

Very impressive!

Ismail and Ayesha Laher

Heartiest congratulations and best wishes for unlimited success, Inshallah, Nobel Prize in Mathematics! will be yours

We are very proud of your tremendous success

sonia apu

Many congratulations Asif. We are really proud of you. All the best.

Moosey P

Way to go Asif. Way to represent SFU with pride!


Atta boy :) SFU!!!!


Awesome work kid

Akhtar Zaman

You represent us? Congratulations!

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