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The boundless possibility of trying out and the instant knowledge of the outcome that stimulates one for further analysis of a rationale in question is what I find most appealing about Computer Science. I wish to pursue masters in Computer Science with an emphasis on Artificial Intelligence starting fall 2011. I am interested in gaining necessary skills needed to challenge more complex problems in order to advance our current knowledge and understanding in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Human Computer Interaction and Robotic. I believe it will also serve to give direction to my goal of a career as a research professional at an academic, commercial or research-oriented organizations.
An academic mentor told me that the motivations of computer science students comprise a broad spectrum. There are those who love theoretical computer science, and those who romance the code. Then there are those who see the study of computer science as a way to learn how to formalize and implement solutions to a wide variety of problems outside of the field. I place myself firmly on this end of the spectrum. Formal theory may form a necessary foundation for my work and provide valuable insights and intuitions about how to go about solving a problem, but my passion lies in developing software to explore my curiosity about the nature of the mind and the limits of artificial intelligence. The question of whether or not we reach the point where I can sit down at a terminal and whip up a new soul may remain unanswered, but I continue to be fascinated by even the currently-possible in artificial intelligence.
In 6th grade, I started learning Qbasic language and fulfilled my wish to write my own program. I extended my knowledge by writing simple games and solving mathematical examples by programming. I would poke around expressing every event and process around me as a series of sequential steps. A love for logic, combined with a knack of solving puzzles, has almost embedded the idea of algorithms a part of my subconscious thought process.
I was the highest scorer in high-school with a centum in Mathematics and topped the school in Computer Science. The two years spent in preparation for the various Indian engineering entrance examinations provided direction to my childhood interests. Exposed to diverse topics in basic science and math, I enjoyed solving challenging problems in calculus, geometry, circuit analysis and electromagnetism. After placing in the top 2 percent of 0.3 million students from across the country, I went on to take up Computer Science at the undergraduate level.
Learning by doing and, probing by asking, has always been my approach to education, right from elementary till my under-graduate school. Courses like Data Structures and Algorithms, Operating Systems, Digital Electronics, Computer Organization Compiler Construction, Theory of Computation, Microcontroller Programming and Artificial Intelligence, not only groomed my passion for logic but also made me realize the importance of perseverance and focus required while pursuing theoretical subjects. While pursuing my undergraduate studies, I was exposed to the amazing world of Natural Language Processing when I was working on a Spell Checker and Dictionary Engine for my project as part of Object Oriented Programming course.
My final year project was a Concept Logic Builder using Natural Language Processing. I implemented it in C# with the SharpNLP library and in Python using the NTLK toolkit. The project exposed a novel means by which human thoughts and concepts in written form can be reconstructed, retrieved and manipulated automatically by a software in such a way that the original meaning is not lost. It works by going beyond the diminutive form of natural language understanding that limits itself to word-spotting or a superficial association of semantic blocks, and tries to mimic the functions of the human brain in its processing and outcome. While working on this project, I have been introduced to the process of conducting and working in research projects, from reading papers with a critical eye and presenting to peers, to completing deadlines and writing papers. Moreover this endeavour has certainly strengthened my conviction to engage in active research in Artificial Intelligence and related fields.
Apart from my focus area, I have always participated enthusiastically and actively in extra-curricular activities. As a member of the Planning Committee for my college's technical festival, I was also able to build my leadership and teamwork skills. From my sophomore year, I had involved myself in writing for Digit- the most widely distributed Technology Magazine in India. By working along with studying in undergraduate program, I learned how to manage time and maintain a balance between courseworks and job tasks. Also, it gave me an excellent opportunity to research into the latest and upcoming gadgets and software products. During my current Internship at HP where I am working on Windows Azure Cloud-Computing framework, I would like to broaden my perspective on real world technology issues, problems and creative approaches to solving them.
My objective as an MS student would be to surmount my logic and intelligence to develop systems that can think and learn like humans. A success in this will mean a definite change in the way most computing devices work at present. I believe that making existing systems develop intelligence by learning on their own is an extremely powerful proposition that would form the core paradigm of this ambitious realm of Computer Science.
University of Arizona, I believe, offers a conducive environment for graduate studies that is ideally suited for my research goals and work ethics. I am sure that with the reputed faculty my journey through the MS degree would not only be inquisitive and experimental but also intellectually enriching. As a student with exposure to a variety of situations and the ability to walk out as a winner are my biggest assets. The virtues of never giving up and learning from every situation have been my best companions through both good and tough times. This, backed with a determination and willingness to walk that extra mile, will help me strive to the best of my abilities to exceed the high standards of the University of Arizona. Sharing the stage with the best and the brightest individual from all around the world and interaction with the student body promises to be an enriching experience for me. I am excited and confident to make a significant contribution to the Department of Computer Science as a graduate Student.
I would like to end by saying that that I am fully aware that a career in research and academics requires a high level of intelligence, unwavering dedication and a lot of sacrifice. I am confident that I would meet all the above demands, and hence I appeal to the Graduate Admissions Committee to consider me for admission.