Ashraful Islam Rafi

PhD student and Graduate Research Assistant at UAB

About Me

Hi, my name’s Rafi. Currently, I’m a computer science PhD student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and working as a Graduate Research Assistant under Dr. Thomas Gilray in the HARP lab.

Before that, I worked as a Software Engineer (R&D) at Bangla Search Engine (Pipilika) for almost 4 years. Prior to that, I was working in the software industry for more than 3+ years taking on roles such as Programmer, Senior Software Engineer, and Software Developer. In 2013, I completed my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Leading University, Bangladesh.



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Computer Science

January, 2022 - Present


B. Sc. in Computer Science and Engineering

September, 2009 - August, 2013

Research Interest

  • Programming Languages, Software Engineering, Machine Learning, Data Science, Information Retrieval, Human-Computer Interaction and Cybersecurity



Software Engineer (R&D)

August 2017 - Present
  • Search Engine Improvement: Conducting extensive research using ML techniques such as Deep Learning to solve Natural Language Processing (NLP) problems for the Bengali Language.

  • Search Relevancy Improvement: Improved keyword-based search relevancy by designing dynamic schema in Apache Solr supported by the calculative implementation of Solr’s dismax query parser and query boosting.

  • A2i Search Portal: Spend around six months to find out a generic approach to Crawl, Parse, and Index the unstructured data from over 40,000 websites and later on provided REST API using Spring Boot.

  • Spellchecker Context-Aware Library: After month-long, thorough research into the project improved the file—Dictionary—loading time by 20 seconds.

  • Solr Analytic Library: The development of this plug and play library required a lot of individual research which can provide domain wise time series data for any project build upon Apache Solr.

  • Rich Document Parser Library: Wrote generic parser using jsoup library to extract data from file types such as DOC, PDF, PPT, CSV, etc. Extracting Bangla Unicode data from PDF files was the biggest challenge of all and still under development.



April 2015 - August 2017
  • Served more than three months as In-Charge of the Information Technology (IT) department
  • Developed Result Prediction Tool and Online Admission System using PHP, MySql, Ajax, jQuery, Bootstrap3
  • Modify, correct, and improve the overall performance of the University Support System (USS)
  • Coordinated and Monitored vendor company on developing Human Resources Management System (HRMS) Software as per the Software Requirements Specification (SRS)
  • Establish, build, and manage relationships with corporate partners


Senior Software Engineer

Novermber 2014 - April 2015
  • Developed the annual Local Health Bulletin - 2015 report and Photo Archiver System for the Government of Bangladesh under the Ministry Of Health and Family Welfare as a vendor company
  • Used Bootstrap Framework for cross-platform compatibility


Software Developer (While Doing Bachelor's)

February 2012 - June 2014
  • Designed and Developed customized web-based Shop Management software for different businesses
  • Involved in back-end coding to manage dynamic pages using the CodeIgnitor framework

Technical Skills

  • Programming Languages: Java, Python, PHP, C, C++, JavaScript
  • Databases: MySQL, Apache Solr, MongoDB
  • Frameworks/Libraries: Spring Boot, Java Servlet, Jsoup, Scrapy, Codeigniter, jQuery, Bootstrap3
  • Web Technologies: AJAX, HTML5, CSS3, JSON
  • Web Servers: Lampp, Xampp, Apache
  • Version Control: Git
  • CMS: WordPress
  • Software Methodologies: SDLC, STLC, MVC, Agile, Scrum, Waterfall
  • OS Environments: Linux, Windows
  • Others: Docker, Maven, Rancher, Algorithms, System Analysis and Design

Relevant Coursework

  • Foundations of Data Science, Data Mining, Artificial Intelligence with Prolog, Data Structure and Algorithms, Computer Algorithms and Complexity, Structure Programming C, Object Oriented Programming - C++, Java Programming, Operating Systems, Database Management System, Software Engineering, and System Analysis, Design and Development

Programming Background

  • Contest Participation: IUT 4th National ICT Fest - 2012, NSU ACM ICPC Dhaka Site - 2011, SUST Inter-University Programming Contest – 2011, IUT Inter-University Programming Contest – 2011
  • Solved over 400 problems from different online judges
  • Participated regularly in online programming contests hosted by online judges such as LightOJ, UVa Online Judge, etc.

Voluntary University Services

  • Competitive Programming Instructor: Conducted workshops on problem-solving especially using C and C++ with dedicated sessions on Data Structure and Algorithms
  • Public Relations Officer and Vice-President: Spent a lot of my time as a committee member of the Leading University Computer Club (LUCC) taking on roles such as Public Relations Officer and Vice-President
  • Security Assurance Agent: Served as a Security Assurance Agent of the Bangladesh National Cadet Corps (BNCC), Leading University platoon

Conference Participation

  • ICBSLP 2019: International Conference on Bangla Speech and Language Processing
  • ICBSLP 2018: International Conference on Bangla Speech and Language Processing