A.Q. Khan Plagiarizing Op-Ed Pieces After Lifetime Of Stealing And Selling Nuclear Secrets
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A.Q. Khan Plagiarizing Op-Ed Pieces After Lifetime Of Stealing And Selling Nuclear Secrets

By Ahsan

Well, then.
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/>I don’t have much to say in this post, except to thank reader Wasay for sending me a brilliant letter published in The News, and to especially thank a Mr. Fahad Rafique Dogar for writing it. Here it is, in its entirety.
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This is with reference to Dr A Q Khan’s column “Science of computers: part I” which appeared in your pages on Aug 19.
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/>1. Dr Khan writes: “The computer is an essential part of 21st century life. Computer science is a fast-moving subject that gives rise to a range of interesting and often challenging problems. The implementation of today’s complex computer systems requires the skills of a knowledgeable and versatile computer scientist. Artificial intelligence — the study of intelligent behaviour — is having an increasing reference on computer system design. Distributed systems, networks and the internet are now central to the study of computing, presenting both technical and social challenges.”
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/>Now compare this to the first paragraph of Undergraduate Prospectus 2009, University of Sussex(www.sussex.ac.uk/units/publications/ugrad2009/subjects/computing): [Note from Ahsan: the provided link is broken, this is the correct one]
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/>”Computing is an essential part of 21st-century life, and is an exceptionally fast-moving subject that gives rise to a range of interesting and challenging problems. The implementation of today’s complex computing systems, networks and multimedia systems requires the skills of knowledgeable and versatile computer scientists. Computer networks and the internet are now central to the study of computing and information technology, presenting both technical and social challenges. Artificial intelligence (AI) — the study of intelligent behaviour — is having an increasing influence on computer system design.”
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/>2. Dr Khan writes: “How do we understand, reason, plan, cooperate, converse, read and communicate? What are the roles of language and logic? What is the structure of the brain? How does vision work? These are all questions as fundamental as the sub-atomic structure of matter. These are also questions where the science of computing plays an important role in our attempts to provide answers. The computer scientist can expect to come face-to-face with problems of great depth and complexity and, together with scientists, engineers and experts in other fields, may help to solve them. Computing is not just about the big questions; it is also about engineering-making things work. Computing is unique in offering both the challenge of science and the satisfaction of engineering.”
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/>Now compare this to the first paragraph of Imperial College London website (www3.imperial.ac.uk/engineering/teaching/exploringengineering/computing): “How do we understand, reason, plan, cooperate, converse, read and communicate? What are the roles of language and logic? What is the structure of the brain? How does vision work? These are questions as fundamental, in their own way, as questions about the sub-atomic structure of matter. They are also questions where the science of computing plays an important role in our attempts to provide answers. The computer scientist can expect to come face-to-face with problems of great depth and complexity and, together with scientists, engineers and experts in other fields, may help to disentangle them. But computing is not just about the big questions it is also about engineering-making things work. Computing is unique in offering both the challenge of a science and the satisfaction of engineering.”
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/>3. Furthermore, Dr Khan writes: “Computer science is an inter-disciplinary subject. It is firmly rooted in engineering and mathematics, with links to linguistics, psychology and other fields. Computer science is concerned with constructing hardware and software systems, digital electronics, compiler design, programming languages, operation systems, networks and graphics. Theoretical computer science addresses fundamental issues: the motion of computable function, proving the correctness of hardware and software and the theory of communicating system.
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/>Again the University of Cambridge website (www.cam.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/compsci) contains the following text: (First paragraph) “Computer science is interdisciplinary. It is firmly rooted in engineering and mathematics, with links to linguistics, psychology and other fields. […] (Second paragraph) Practical computer science is concerned with constructing hardware and software systems: digital electronics, compiler design, programming languages, operating systems, networks and graphics. Theoretical computer science addresses fundamental issues: the notion of computable function, proving the correctness of hardware and software, the theory of communicating systems.”
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/>4. The second half of Dr Khan’s article (paragraph 7 onwards) can be found in ACM’s Computing Curricula 2009. Although he credits ACM but [sic] doesn’t clarify that he is directly copying sentences from a document. Also, in the beginning of his piece he does acknowledge one of his former colleagues, an Engineer Nasim Khan, for input for the article; however, it is not clear whether this input is the reason for the apparent plagiarism.
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/>Fahad Rafique Dogar
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/>PhD student, Carnegie Mellon University
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/>Pittsburgh, PA, US

/>Just a couple of quick points. Please email this post or the letter itself to everyone you know. The people who deify A.Q. Khan may never be convinced that the man is not a national “hero” or the father of anything other than his children, but it is important to show reasonable people that the man is a crook in every sense of the word. Moreover, he is an extremely stupid and lazy crook — if you’re going to cheat and steal other people’s words, at least make it from less well-known resources than the front pages of major universities’ departmental homepages.
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/>Second, I really wish Rs.5 was big enough to have its own t-shirts and merchandise. I would promptly be sending some to Mr. Dogar if it were the case; sadly this shout-out will have to suffice as an expression of our gratitude.
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/>For those interested, I had a short post a while ago on Dr. A.Q. Khan’s brilliant personal website.
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