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Saikat Mondal with his family (Photo: Submitted)

Computer science graduate student awarded Graduate Thesis Award

Saikat Mondal has been awarded a University of Saskatchewan Graduate Thesis Award (Master's) in the Physical and Engineering Sciences.

Presented annually by the USask College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, the Graduate Thesis Awards recognize excellence and original quality in graduate student research across several categories. Saikat Mondal described winning the award as "a great surprise" and said he "will remember the moment forever."

Mondal was also awarded a Research Excellence Award (Master's) this year, and the Geddes Award in April 2020, both of which are awarded by the Department of Computer Science. Prior to his time at Usask he was a faculty member at Khulna Univerity in Bangladesh, where he received the Best Faculty Award for excellence in teaching and research.

Saikat Mondal joined the Software Engineering lab at Usask in May 2018 as a master's student. "The M.Sc. in Computer Science program of Saskatchewan University is one of Canada's most highly rated postgraduate programs." he said when asked about why he chose to study at Usask. "The research happening here is fundamental yet cutting age, and the university provides a more competitive, elite, and international environment." He was also drawn to Usask for the chance to work under the supervision of Dr. Chanchal Roy, an internationally celebrated researcher in the field of software engineering.

Throughout his graduate studies, Mondal has appreciated the welcoming atmosphere in the Software Engineering lab. "I always feel the people around me are very friendly and supportive. Besides my supervisor's tremendous support, the senior members of my lab supported me all the way when I faced difficulties." One of the biggest challenges he encountered was being thousands of miles away from his family during the majority of his master's. His son was born while he was in Canada, and it was a year and a half before he was able to see him in person. 

His research focused on Stack Overflow, one of the largest and most popular developer forums with millions of questions, answers, and users. His thesis "investigates those issues such as reproducibility of question issues, inconsistency in rollback edits to promote the quality of the valuable knowledge base and encourage more users to share knowledge." This supports the developer community by "finding appropriate answers promptly and saving valuable development time."

His advice for students who are just starting a graduate degree focuses on perserverence and learning from failure. "In my opinion, patience, positive thinking, being proactive and productive are the keys to success. It will not be easy, but students must start somewhere as early as possible. Never give up and know that the best is yet to come!" He stresses that even though failures may happen during your graduate studies, they are great learning opportunities and will cause you to grow as a person.

Mondal has chosen to continue his time at Usask, pursuing a Ph.D. in the Software Engineering Lab, a decision he credits largely to his supervisor and research lab. "My supervisor always supports and encourages me to explore new and emerging research areas that I truly enjoy. The availability of necessary resources and a friendly lab environment make my graduate study smooth."

In his career, he aims to conduct cutting-edge research in Software Engineering and challenge himself with robust, emerging research programs. In particular, he wants to "promote novel, cost-effective and efficient solutions for software developers that will speed up their development tasks and save their valuable time."

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