It’s been a month since I started grad school, and a few things have come to my attention right away.
It is a marathon, with many detours, each with its own race.
It’s a test of will, and it’s very different to undergrad. There is a lot of freedom and a lot of deliverables at the same time. I decided to start blogging as a way to record my adventures through grad school.
Why do this?
I came across this post on Thesis Whisperer, a blog directed towards research students, with a list of PhD student blogs. The common theme was that blogging was a way for these students to keep themselves sane through this period of their lives. I see Simon Clark Vlog his way through his PhD, and talking to people about his work certainly helped him sweat through his problems.
I see this as an opportunity to express myself and my research. I am passionate about using AI for healthcare, and it would be great to meet some like-minded people (and if something is bothering me, you can help me out.)
I want to document my journey so that if I do well, you can do the same, if not you know what not to do.
It also motivates me to work on exciting things to keep you guys engaged.
Who Even Are You?
I am an MSc student, studying Computer Science at the University of Toronto (UofT). I did my undergrad in Computer Engineering at Waterloo. I love traveling (and photography) – and I have been to eight countries in the last 5 years – most of them during my exchange term in Singapore. Apart from that, I watch Friends and GoT and read through a bunch of books in my free time.
What does Grad School involve?
Masters at UofT includes taking four grad-level courses, 2-3 TAships, and your research. That’s really it…
What’s Your Research About?
My research focuses on using sparse and multi-modal data to detect and possibly prevent cognitive diseases involving speech. I am committed to building accessible smart assistants that can routinely communicate with people with Alzheimer’s Disease with the ability to identify, prevent and correct trouble indicating behaviors.
I am also developing an independent task-level transfer learning mechanism for Reinforcement Learning tasks, with many potential applications (think using knowledge from self-driving cars to self-flying planes).
Oooh, is that really possible?
I don’t know… we will find out in a couple of years?
What Are You Reading this Month?
Following the theme of intense, focused work I have been reading through Deep Work by Cal Newport and Peak by Anders Ericsson. I am also browsing through Statistics Done Wrong, and I feel every scientist/engineer/statistician/human should too!
Are You Using Any Apps To Help Ya?
I use Focus@Will and Strict Workflow to get through my work hours. I used Brain.fm before, but somehow my brain is immune to that music after 2 years. Evernote is a beast for taking notes and Grammarly for catching minuscule mistakes. I also use Headspace for meditating daily.
Coool Story, Count Me In!
After bearing with me for so long, if you would still like to follow my work, you can subscribe to my blog! Let me know your story if you are trudging through Grad School yourself (or otherwise!)