Life on a lifelong quest for the ultimate

Topic: DesignConstruction
Sample donated:
Last updated: September 21, 2019

Life is a complex case of the shortest path problem. Eachone of us is on a lifelong quest for the ultimate algorithm to reach the enddestination. The freshman year in college marked the source node of myendeavours in engineering. After being accepted into the student libraryassociation, some of my most delightful days that year were spent tending totextbooks and STEM journals. Flipping through the June 2014 issue of the MITTechnology Review, an account on Qualcomm’s latest creation caught my attention. Armed with the revolutionary ‘Zeroth’neuromorphic chip, the robot ‘Pioneer’ was amachine near capable of cognition.

Spellbound by the profundity of thissingle most extraordinary idea, I dug deeper to comprehend how the seeminglyordinary pieces of silicon could make sense of nearly every existing physicalphenomenon, similar to the human brain. Suddenly, R2-D2 seemed attainable.  My thirst for in-depth knowledge evolved into an obsessiontowards finding solutions, which ultimately transformed into my life goal. Whatgot me up each morning was the desire to bring intelligent machines out fromfiction and into the real world. As a way to augment human life experience, Iaspired to study how the self-learning hardware was engineered. Building anArtificial Intelligence processor R enterprise became my ambition. Sinceit demanded an extensive knowledge base, I exposed myself to various facets ofengineering in myundergraduate study.

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Investigating a myriad of technologies throughnumerous projects cultivated my research interests and proved to be a window tounderstand the theory in the taught curriculum. Immersed in experimentation, I spent my sophomore and junioryears to thoroughly grasp something utterly intriguing. How was a piece of code breathing life into hardware? To understandthis, I started with the basics. Providing evening tuition to freshman studentsto pay for expenses made me self-sufficient and fortified my conceptualfoundations. Most afternoons, I worked in the on-campus research facilities,investigating both the high & low level design of embeddedhardware-software systems. Self-help platforms like Courseratrained me over the concepts left untouched in the classroom. As a capstoneproject for the Internet of Things specialization MOOC by the University ofCalifornia Irvine, I constructed an ‘Android Controlled Self-balancing Robot’.Utilizing an extended Kalman filtering algorithm and an aluminum clamp, therobot was able to climb a 20-degree incline, to gracefully deliver a table-flagmemento to the guest of honor at the Independence Day celebrations in thecollege auditorium.

 In the e-Yantra Robotics Competition (eYRC) 2015 conductedby IIT Bombay, I led my team to reach the finals, against 52 other qualifyinggroups from across India. We designed an ‘Autonomous Puzzle Solver Robot’ onFirebird V, a custom-built Atmega 2560 microcontroller based kit. I performedPID tuning for precise movement of the robotic arm and implemented theK-Nearest Neighbour algorithm for dynamic motion planning of our robot in thepartially observable environment. Traversing 45 nodes in under 4 minutes, therobot decoded an arithmetic puzzle in record time. My inherent belief of contributing to the society compelledme to volunteer at an NGO which undertook the growth and monitoring ofeducation for underprivileged children.

Here I built a ‘Biometric AttendanceManagement System’ for a survey of actual classroom presence of middle schoolstudents. Sparse sampling the fingerprint data and handling it through AmazonWeb Services, I discovered how scalable processing, storage and retrieval ofinformation was achieved. To the end of my junior year, I got selected for the highlycoveted Research Internship program at the National Institute of TechnologyAllahabad. Opting to work under their research expedition on H.265 Ultra-HDtechnology, I investigated information processing further and was introduced tothe beauty of chip design. I developed a high-throughput architecture for theSample Adaptive Offset Filter which was integrated into a novel GPU microchipunder development at the institute.

During the internship, I closely bondedwith the 2 fellow interns that I was associated with. Coming from an entirelydifferent ethnic background, they had no knowledge of my native language ofHindi. An enlightening experience; collaborating with individuals fromdifferent cultures is something I look forward to in the future as well.

 Recent innovations by the Indian Space Research Organizationin dehazing methods for satellite imagery and the insights gained from myresearch throughout the internship encouraged me to take up an image processingbased major project in my senior year. To build upon the developments by ISRO,I plan on boosting and automating the image feature extraction in present-dayalgorithms by employing neural networks. Designing the coursework andconducting training workshops on autonomous robotics under the departmentalassociation ‘Quanta’, the expertise that I gained in machine learning will bepivotal in accomplishing this project. Throug­hout my years of overwhelming empirical study, I havesuccessfully maintained a first-class academic record. Exhausting everyaccessible resource at my undergraduate institute, I have widened my breadth ofknowledge and directed myself towards the right track. To delve deep into myspecific interests, I have to tread depth-first on the path towards my aim.

Specializing in Computer Engineering from University of California – Los Angeles is the nextmost-promising node towards reaching it. Encompassing VLSI, Information Processing, and Machinelearning; the program here has a pioneering cross-disciplinary approach toteaching and research, which is an accurate match for my experience, interestsand objectives. Under the guidance and assistantship of Professor Jason Cong, I wish to explore the design anddevelopment of cognitive computing platforms. Utilizing the resources presentat the pioneering VASTlaboratory, Furthermore, I aim atbeing inducted into the quest on Customizable Domain-Specific Computing, so asto serve the ever-expanding needs for energy-efficient computing technology andadvance the Beyond-CMOS research at UCLA as well. Creating a novel neural processingarchitecture and fabricating it faultlessly at the C-DEN,will culminate my graduate study. On completion of the course, I intend on quenching my curiositythrough industrial experience andsimultaneously work towards realizing my dream.

 Resolute yet adaptable, creative yet meticulous, Icomplement the academic community at UCLA. Favourable consideration of myapplication will serve to prove that I have employed an effective heuristictowards attaining my destination. An academic scholarship will strengthen myself-esteem and enhance my self-sufficiency. Joining the university shall bethe next milestone in my journey as a person of science. Thank you.

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