Dr. Shahrukh Athar – Faculty of Engineering
Shahrukh Athar

Dr. Shahrukh Athar


Perceptual image quality assessment, degraded-reference and multiply-distorted image quality assessment, digital image and video processing, digital signal processing, educational development

Areas of Specialization

  • Signal, Image & Video Processing

  • Assistant Professor

    Electrical & Computer Engineering


My research interests lie in the general area of image/video processing and specifically in perceptual image quality assessment (IQA). I am interested in the development of degraded-reference IQA algorithms that are able to predict the perceptual quality of multiply-distorted images in the presence of degraded references. I am also interested in the construction of large-scale synthetically annotated IQA datasets to aid in the development of robust machine learning based no-reference IQA algorithms.

As a teaching-focused Assistant Professor, I am primarily interested in exploring and using active learning and inductive teaching techniques to make my classrooms more engaging for my students so that they can become curious about the material that they are learning and utilize critical thinking in the learning process. I am also interested in the area of educational development where my focus is on the development and facilitation of pedagogical training workshops and programs to my colleagues and to graduate students.

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Dr. Shahrukh Athar is a teaching-focused Assistant Professor at the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), McMaster University, Canada since August 2022.

Before joining McMaster, he worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), University of Waterloo, Canada from 2020 to 2022, where his research focused primarily on the area of perceptual image quality assessment (IQA).

Dr. Athar completed his Ph.D., degree in ECE from the University of Waterloo in 2020 where his thesis focused on addressing the data shortage and multi-stage distortion challenges in IQA. Previously, he received the B.E., degree in electrical engineering from NUST, Pakistan, in 2007, and the M.S., degree in computer engineering from LUMS, Pakistan, in 2009.

From 2010 to 2013 he worked as a Teaching Fellow (Lecturer) in the department of Electrical Engineering at LUMS, Pakistan. During his Ph.D., at the University of Waterloo ECE department (2014-2020), he worked as a Sessional Lecturer in Winter 2020 and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in eight terms (2014-2019), and received the prestigious Sandford Fleming Foundation TA Excellence award once and the departmental TA award three times.

While working towards his Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo, Dr. Athar successfully completed pedagogical training programs offered by the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) that include the Fundamentals of University Teaching (2016), the extensive Certificate in University Teaching (2017-2020), and the Instructional Skills Workshop or ISW (2019). He worked at the CTE as a Graduate Instructional Developer in four terms (2017-2018) where his responsibilities included the development and delivery of pedagogical workshops, facilitation of microteaching sessions, delivery of TA training sessions, and the conduct of teaching observations. 

While at the University of Waterloo, Dr. Athar also successfully completed the extensive Facilitator Development Workshop (FDW) in 2019 which enables him to be an ISW facilitator. He is listed as an ISW Facilitator with the Instructional Skills Workshop Network and has to-date co-facilitated the ISW twice (in Oct./Nov. 2019 at the University of Waterloo and in July 2023 at McMaster University).

  • B.E. (Electrical Engineering) National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan (2007)
  • M.S. (Computer Engineering) Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan (2009)
  • Ph.D. (Electrical and Computer Engineering) University of Waterloo, Canada (2020)
  • Certificate in University Teaching University of Waterloo, Canada (2020)

Faculty Appreciation Award (McMaster Engineering Society, 2023)

Award for Teaching Assistantship Excellence (Sandford Fleming Foundation, University of Waterloo, 2017)

Teaching Assistantship Award – Three times (ECE Department, University of Waterloo, 2016, 2017, 2020)

S. Athar and Z. Wang, “Degraded Reference Image Quality Assessment,” IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, Vol. 32, PP. 822-837, Jan. 2023.

R. Zhou, S. Athar, Z. Wang, and Z. Wang, “Deep Image Debanding,” Proceedings of the 2022 IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP), PP. 1951-1955, Oct. 2022, Bordeaux, France.

S. Athar and Z. Wang, “A Comprehensive Performance Evaluation of Image Quality Assessment Algorithms,” IEEE Access, Vol. 7, PP. 140030-140070, Sept. 2019.

S. Athar, T. Costa, K. Zeng, and Z. Wang, “Perceptual Quality Assessment of UHD-HDR-WCG Videos,” Proceedings of the 2019 IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP), PP. 1740-1744, Sept. 2019, Taipei, Taiwan. (Among the Top 10% papers)

K. A. K. Niazi, W. Akhtar, H. A. Khan, Y. Yang, and S. Athar, “Hotspot Diagnosis for Solar Photovoltaic Modules using a Naive Bayes Classifier,” Solar Energy, Vol. 190, PP. 34-43, Sept. 2019.

Z. Wang, S. Athar, and Z. Wang, “Blind Quality Assessment of Multiply Distorted Images using Deep Neural Networks,” Proceedings of the 2019 International Conference on Image Analysis and Recognition (ICIAR), PP. 89-101, Aug. 2019, Waterloo, ON, Canada.

S. Athar, A. Rehman, and Z. Wang, “Quality Assessment of Images undergoing Multiple Distortion Stages,” Proceedings of the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP), PP. 3175-3179, Sept. 2017, Beijing, China.

S. Athar, H. Yeganeh, and Z. Wang, “Data Rate and Dynamic Range Compression of Medical Images: Which one goes first?,” Proceedings of the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Image Processing (ICIP), PP. 4436-4440, Sept. 2015, Quebec City, QC, Canada.

M. Bilal, S. Masud, and S. Athar, “FPGA Design for Statistics-Inspired Approximate Sum-of-Squared-Error Computation in Multimedia Applications,” IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems-II: Express Briefs, Vol. 59, No. 8, PP. 506-510, Aug. 2012.

S. Athar, M. A. Siddiqi, and S. Masud, “Teaching and Research in FPGA based Digital Signal Processing using Xilinx System Generator,” Proceedings of the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP), PP. 2765-2768, Mar. 2012, Kyoto Japan.

S. Athar, M. A. Siddiqi, and S. Masud, “Design and FPGA Implementation of a 2nd Order Adaptive Delta Sigma Modulator with one bit Quantization,” Proceedings of the 2010 International Conference on Field Programmable Logic and Applications (FPL), PP. 388-393, Aug./Sept. 2010, Milano Italy.