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Having spent 730 days, 17,520 hours, 1,051,200 minutes, 63,072,000 seconds, 6.307,000,00000 nanoseconds for the completion of his PhD research work, Dr Oluwasegun Julius Aroba, has finally crossed the threshold into the unknown in solving humanity’s conceptual and physical problems.

The passionate analytical thinker is an Information Systems lecturer at the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics is ecstatic to have graduated with his PhD in Information Technology (IT) at the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) 2022 Virtual Autumn Graduation ceremony today, 13 May 2022.

“My gratitude goes to the Almighty God for his special grace, mercy, favour, wisdom, strength and understanding throughout the period of my research work. I am especially grateful to my supervisor, Dr Nalen Naicker, for his assistance, support, succour, and mentorship that helped me scale the hurdles of this work. It would have been a colossal task to accomplish this project without his full support, advice, and continuous inspiration,” he stressed.

He also gave special thanks go to his co-supervisor, Dr Timothy Adeliyi, for his knowledge, skills and advice which had helped steer him on the right path.

Besides his jubilation on becoming a doctor, his family were equally full of praise on his accomplishment.

“When I was growing up, my late mum and my dad thought I would be a medical doctor because I was trained to be a medical practitioner as a volunteer. When my dad heard I got an outstanding result in my PhD research project, his eyes were filled with tears of joy and my wife and kids were all happy in this regard,” he replied thankfully.

Giving an account of his voyage at DUT, Dr Aroba said his journey at the ‘Harvard of Africa’, which he fondly calls the DUT, began in March 2020.

He got to know much about the University through one of his mentor who persuaded him over time to start his PhD research in 2013, but he had the intention of setting a pace for his businesses: Aroseglinks Services Limited (Group) in the United Kingdom, Nigeria and across few other African countries, before embarking on his PhD research field in 2020.

“Over that period of my decision, in 2019, I made a thorough research about my supervisors to be, and I was happy to send them an e-mail before getting accepted in 2019 by Dr Nalen Naicker. Few weeks after the commencement of my PhD journey, we all got lockeddown due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he stressed.

Dr Aroba excitedly spoke on topic of his PhD Thesis, titled: Improving Node Localization and Energy Efficiency for Wireless Sensor Networks using Hyper-Heuristic Optimization Algorithms.

“Within the growing Internet of Things paradigm, a Wireless Sensor Network is a critical component. Sensor node localization is typically utilised to identify the target node’s current location at the sink node. This allows local data to be analysed, making it more meaningful,” he said.

However, he explained that there exists an intrinsic problem with node localization and energy efficiency, as identified in the literature, which has led to poor performance, namely, poor estimation, transmission, and detection of the network.

“There seems to be no lasting and reliable solution to this intrinsic node localization problem in Wireless Sensor Networks. Hence, this research study proposed hyper-heuristic optimization algorithms to improve node localization and energy efficiency in Wireless Sensor Networks,” he added.

Dr Aroba decided to choose such a topic as he has a passion for solving real life problems that are prominent and one of the major problems affecting Africa at large is energy efficiency.

He relayed that the research through different published works led hime to form an algorithmic solution to the energy efficiency problem in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) and ultimately will help the WSN industry and the world at large, be it energy companies, telecommunication organizations, hospital etc.

As much as he is jubilant about his excellent achievement, Dr Aroba expressed that there were some challenges he had to face. Tell me about your academic journey in terms of your research, what challenges did you face?

“Right from my undergraduate days, I began my research in Crawford University where I focused on Wireless Networks. I went into the research in Coventry University United Kingdom in 2012 where I focused on implementation of Wireless Sensor Networks, and I decided to widen my research focus on simulating the Wireless Sensor Network at the Durban University of Technology, South Africa,” he said.

He relayed that the motivation for the research work on WSNs is based on the research gaps that were identified from the extant literature research.

“These identified gaps include poor energy consumption by sensors, which is one of the most serious problems as it results in the sensors not functioning for long enough periods of time. Another challenge is access points that are less than optimally secure which allow hackers to gain easy access to the WSN,” he said.

Additionally, he added, that they are complicated to set up when compared to wired networks; node localization which entails allowing for identifying an unknown node’s location which has been a challenge.

“Furthermore, they are also not considered cost-efficient in terms of their energy utilization. This study made the following contributions in alleviating the energy efficiency optimization and node localization error and probability of error problem,” he indicated.

He explained that the research study investigated the significant challenges of WSNs, which are energy maximization and node localization, necessary to assist the vibrant organization in minimizing the overall energy consumption as well as localizing sensor nodes with a greater accuracy within the WSNs.

Dr Aroba plans to study further and has added recommendations in his research report and if he is granted the opportunity of time, he will further investigate some of the claims that have been made so far in the research space and set up consultancy services.

“On the other hand, I want to be a business magnate where I will see my name on Forbes list soonest. I always stay hungry with passion for change and strategy,” he confessed.

His advice to first year students, postgraduate students is that they are the hero of their story.

“Your life is your story and your journey begins with a call from your conscious line of thought which is an invitation from your comfort zone in strengthening your aspirations. Be yourself, do your part, study hard, reach beyond the star with your own hands,” he said.

“Great faith is an element of great resilience, great testimonies are the outcomes of great trials, great victory can only be evidenced from great trials,said Dr Aroba.

Pictured: Dr Oluwasegun Julius Aroba

Waheeda Peters

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