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Q&A: Two Graduate Students Receive Prestigious Vector Institute Scholarship

We are proud to announce two of our Lassonde graduate students, Rajshree Daulatabad and Gurpreet Matharu as 2018 Vector Institute Scholarship (VSAI) winners.

The Lassonde School of Engineering at York University is one of eight schools to have a program officially recognized by the Vector Institute.

Lassonde’s Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science MSc, Computer Science – Artificial Intelligence (AI) specialization has been strategically designed to provide its graduates with a solid grasp of the computational framework underlying AI methodologies. The coursework focuses on fundamentals of AI, machine learning theory, data mining and ethics.

Under the supervision of a faculty member with expertise in AI, the completion of a research project gives graduates a competitive advantage by leveraging York University’s partnerships to gain coveted industry experience. With this knowledge, graduates are positioned to successfully deploy AI methodologies across many sectors

VSAI’s are merit-based awards recognizing top candidates pursuing studies in a recognized AI-related master’s program or an individualized study path that is demonstrably AI-focused. Candidates must be nominated by their program; they cannot apply.

Read below to learn about Rajshree and Gurpreet’s research and what this scholarship means for their future studies and careers.

Q: What motivated you to choose this program? What is so exciting about AI?

RD: After working for more than 12 years in Investment Banking IT and taking a career break for kids, I was actively looking for some challenging work in the latest technology. That’s when I stumbled upon Machine Learning and could immediately relate to it due to my extensive background in programming and business analysis.

I applied to the master’s program at York because I wanted to change my career path into Machine Learning (ML), contributing to both research as well as its application in Industry. The master’s program – specialization in AI is a perfect fit for my career goals as the program helps me acquire a solid foundation in AI/ML concepts, the internship in industry fulfills my aspiration to solve real-world problems and the research aspect provides me with the challenges I was looking for.

AI has revolutionized technology and in my view the journey has just begun! It not only gives us the power of complex computations, but it has this unique beauty of combining human aspects with technology. I foresee a huge possibility in AI and its applications.

GM: Going by present trends, AI is the most emerging theme in computer science research as well as in information technology (IT) industries. Also, Canada is the undisputed global leader when it comes to Artificial Intelligence-based Research. AI, truly has limitless potential to provide solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems through technological innovation, such as healthcare, transportation and environment. Thus, getting inducted into the master’s degree program in Artificial Intelligence at York University was the natural choice for me.


Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about your current/future research project?

RD: I am interested in varied applications of Machine Learning – robots doing self-learning via imitation for grasping or crowd navigation (using deep reinforcement learning), bots self-learning specific aspects of speech/language, building analytics and operational tools for manufacturers in retail industry and applications that learn trading strategies in Capital Markets.

GM: My research project will touch upon some specific research themes associated with AI & Machine Learning with the focus being on deep learning and neural networks, working under Professor Suprakash Datta from the Lassonde School of Engineering. The long-term impact of my research may include enhancing and enriching the field of AI, adding to AI research through knowledge creation and/or providing AI-based solutions to specific global problems.


Q: What does winning this scholarship mean for your research?

RD: The scholarship means a lot to me, being associated with prestigious Vector Institute feels like a great achievement. As the master’s program is very crucial for my career, the scholarship helps me to focus on building a strong foundation in AI and working on my research project without any distractions. It gives me the freedom to choose research projects of my interest and in which I can contribute to the best of my abilities. I also get the opportunity to connect with the brightest minds in AI while keeping abreast of industry developments.

GM: Winning the VSAI Scholarship provided me with much required financial support, covering most of my tuition fees and thus, enabling me to pursue my master’s degree in artificial intelligence at York University. I would like to express my sincere gratitude towards the Vector Institute for granting me the scholarship.


Q: How has Lassonde/York University been instrumental in supporting your research/supporting you as a student?

RD: Lassonde School of Engineering at York University has been instrumental in providing the educational support and a conducive environment for growth. Lassonde has a great faculty who are very knowledgeable and extremely supportive. Studying alongside some of the smartest minds has motivated me to work harder and contribute to the program.

GM: Lassonde School of Engineering at York University has been truly instrumental in supporting my studies and research by offering me the opportunity to pursue a three-month research project during my dissertation for master’s in information technology (M.Tech. – IT) back in 2015, that was based on iBeacons, which falls under the domain of Artificial Intelligence.

Further, Lassonde taught me the methodology by which computer science research is carried out.


Q: Once you complete the program, where do you see yourself?

RD: I see myself contributing and working in a core technical group of AI in applied research and building applications that change people’s lives!

GM: I see myself working with senior AI researchers in the Canadian AI industry, collaborating and developing AI-based solutions for some of the World’s biggest problems.


Q: What is your dream job?

RD: My dream job is to emerge as a technology practice leader in AI by providing consulting and advisory services to the industry.

GM: My dream job would be getting deputed as an AI Researcher in a leading AI research lab or being part of the AI division for a leading tech giant based in Canada.



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